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.


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Key Resources

Latest national immigration news

Southeast Asian American and Asian American Organizations Across the Country Denounce Trump Administration’s Move to Increase Deportations to Laos

Hmong/Lao Americans with Removal Orders Should Seek Legal Assistance Washington, DC -  We learned that in 2019 the US State ...
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/ Immigration, National

SEARAC Condemns Trump Administration’s Expansion of Muslim Ban

Washington, DC - Last week, the Trump Administration expanded its Muslim ban to include travel restrictions for six additional countries: Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, ...
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/ Immigration, Muslim ban, National, Press Room

Supreme Court Allows Trump Administration to Move Forward with Discriminatory Public Charge Rule

Washington, DC - SEARAC is appalled at yesterday's Supreme Court decision to uphold the Trump Administration's "public charge" regulation. In a 5-4 ...
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/ Immigration, National, Press Room

On Third Anniversary of Muslim Ban, Asian American Organizations Say Pass NO BAN Act

Washington, DC - Three years ago today, the Trump Administration placed a travel ban on several Muslim-majority nations that has continued to ...
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/ Immigration, National, Press Room

Asian American Organizations Denounce Deportations of over 30 Cambodian Americans at Beginning of 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, Southeast Asian Freedom Network, and ...
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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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