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

240+ Immigration & Civil Rights Groups Urge Congress to Repeal Hurtful ’96 Immigration Laws

Groups across the country are demanding Congress repeal the laws that have criminalized immigrants and set the stage for the ...
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Supreme Court Decision Hurts Immigrant Communities

Washington, DC - Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 and along party lines in the Nielsen v. Preap case that immigrants ...
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/ Immigration, National, Press Room

NAKASEC, SAALT, and SEARAC Welcome Introduction of The Dream and Promise Act

Washington, DC - Asian American organizations welcome the introduction of the Dream and Promise Act. The bill, introduced by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard ...
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/ Immigration, National, Press Room

White House Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Principles Reflect More of the Same Anti-Immigrant Hate

Proposed cuts to education, poverty, and health programs will further harm our communities Washington, DC - The Trump Administration released ...
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Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, AAPI organizations denounce increased detention and deportations of Southeast Asian Americans

Earlier today, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, Southeast Asian Freedom Network, and the Vietnamese Anti-Deportation Network ...
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/ Immigration, National, Our Voices

Latest California immigration news

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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