Frequently Asked Questions

1. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand, Hong Kong, or the Philippines. Am I a citizen of that country?

No. Those countries do not automatically grant citizenship to people born in the country.

2. Can I be deported to Cambodia, Laos, or Vietnam even if I was not born there?

Cambodia has recognized people born in refugee camps as citizens even though they have never been to Cambodia. Lao nationality law automatically strips people of citizenship if they have been gone from the country for more than seven years without permission.

3. I have a deportation order. What can I do to prepare?

You should request your immigration file and criminal records and ask an attorney to review them. This guide provides information on how to request your file. You can also make financial and parenting plans if you are detained. This guide and this guide provide information on how to make financial and parenting plans.

4. Can I reopen my case?

Possibly. Immigration law is constantly changing. You should request your file and have an immigration attorney review it.

5. Will it help if I get my conviction expunged? What about a pardon?

Generally, expungements will not help except for very limited situations. Vacating your conviction may help. If you have a state conviction, a pardon from the governor may also help for some convictions. If you have a state conviction, you would need to apply for a pardon in the state where you were convicted. If you have a federal conviction, you would need to be pardoned by the President. The pardon process varies greatly from state to state. You can get information on the process in your state here.

6. What happens if ICE arrests me?

You should call the hotline for legal assistance.

Generally, ICE detains people in a jail or detention center near where they live. For Cambodia, people are then transported from across the country to a centralized location to be interviewed by the Cambodian government. The location varies each time. After interviews, people are usually brought back to where they were initially detained.

7. I have a deportation order. Can I get a work permit, social security card, and a driver’s license?

If you are on an order of supervision and checking in with ICE, you can apply for a work permit. You can use the work permit to obtain a social security card. Whether you are able to get a driver’s license or state ID using the work permit depends on the state in which you live.

8. I do not have a deportation order but am in removal proceedings. What are my options?

You should speak to an attorney about your case. You can also consult this guide from Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC) for resources and background information.