Southeast Asian refugees represent the largest refugee community ever to be resettled in the United States, after being forcefully displaced by U.S. war and its aftermath in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam in the 1970s. Refugees were often resettled in urban centers of concentrated poverty with few social or economic supports. Families struggled to help their children navigate failing schools and racialized bullying. Southeast Asian American young people were disproportionately swept into gangs and violence. As a result, today Southeast Asian refugees are at least three times more likely to be deported on the basis of an old criminal conviction, compared to other immigrants.

SEARAC advocates for the dignity and rights of Southeast Asian refugees with old criminal convictions to stay together with their families. We fight for policy changes to restore fairness and flexibility to immigration laws that make deportation mandatory and irreversible regardless of the individual circumstances of each case. Our advocacy is grounded in the principles of fairness, family, and second chances.

SEARAC also fights to preserve our family-based immigration system. On average, more than 90% of Southeast Asian Americans who received green cards in 2017 did so because of family-based immigration, with more than 22,000 families benefiting from extended family visa sponsorship of siblings, parents, and adult children in 2016.


National POLICY news: Read more

California POLICY news: Read more


Key Resources

Latest national immigration news

SEARAC Condemns the Trump Administration’s Newest Assault on Immigrant Families

Washington, DC - The Trump Administration issued a presidential proclamation last week restricting migration into the United States for uninsured individuals unable to pay ...
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/ Health, Immigration, National, Press Room

Trump Administration Sets 2020 Refugee Cap at Historic Low

Washington, DC - Yesterday, reports surfaced that the Trump Administration intends to limit fiscal year 2020 refugee admissions to 18,000. That cap ...
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/ Immigration, National, Press Room

SEARAC Applauds Reintroduction of Reuniting Families Act

Act would clear visa backlogs that are currently keeping families apart and provide waivers for deportation relief Washington, DC - SEARAC applauds the reintroduction ...
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/ Immigration, National, Press Room

SEARAC Condemns Mass Raids on Immigrants

Washington, DC - SEARAC denounces President Trump's planned mass raids on immigrant communities. After an initial delay, the president plans to launch ...
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/ Immigration, National, Press Room

SEARAC Denounces Scheduled Deportation of over 50 Cambodian Americans

Washington, DC - SEARAC strongly denounces today's scheduled deportation of more than 50 Cambodian Americans. The flight includes a number of ...
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/ Immigration, National, Press Room

Latest California immigration news

Budgetary and Legislative Wins and Hopes in California

As 2019 quickly comes to a close and a new decade emerges, SEARAC reflects on the wins and hopes of ...
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/ California, Education, Health, Immigration

SEARAC Applauds California Gov. Newsom Pardons of Two Cambodian Refugees Facing Deportation

Sacramento, CA - SEARAC is happy to announce that California Gov. Gavin Newsom granted pardons yesterday for two Cambodian refugees ...
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SEARAC California Update

Southeast Asian American families and communities, along with immigrant, refugee, and families of color continue to experience the relentless attacks ...
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Criminal Justice and Immigrant Rights Organizations Deliver Recommendations For Improving Pardon & Commutation Process to CA Governor Newsom

SACRAMENTO, CA - Yesterday, SEARAC, along with a coalition of criminal justice and immigrant rights organizations, met with members of California ...
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/ California, Immigration, Press Room

SEARAC Encouraged by Passage of Landmark Legislation in California 

Contacts: Gabriel Garcia,, for education equity advocacy Lee Lo,, for health equity advocacy Nkauj Iab Yang,, for ...
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