Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles issued the following statement last week in response to the appointment of Tony Pham as acting head of ICE:

“As lawyers, advocates, and members of immigrant and refugee communities, we have witnessed first-hand the terror and trauma that ICE inflicts on our communities. We have seen ICE rip apart families, lock immigrants in cages, and deny people even the most basic human rights.

“And these cruel detention and deportation practices have not spared even those who, like Tony Pham, fled to this country seeking refuge from violence and war. The United States has already deported over 2,000 Southeast Asian refugees, and 15,000 more live under constant fear that ICE will abruptly tear them away from their homes and their loved ones.

“Tony Pham’s emphasis on his family’s ‘lawful path’ to citizenship perpetuates an ahistorical and harmful narrative that ignores the harshness of our immigration system and dismisses the humanity of the millions of immigrants in the United States who are at risk of deportation. We reject this narrative.

“Tony Pham does not represent or speak for our communities, and his appointment as ICE director in no way changes the fundamental cruelty of an agency that exists to criminalize immigrants. The United States must defund ICE and end the violence of deportation, and we will continue to fight for a future where our immigrant and refugee families can finally feel safe in their homes.”

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