All posts filed under: Immigration

Deportations of Southeast Asian Americans: A Glaring Human Rights Issue in an Unjust Immigration System

This piece was also published on Reappropriate and Angry Asian Man.  Last week, war veterans, mothers, fathers, family, friends, and children held signs of pleas to stop deportations of their loved ones. Organized by family members of those detained, and supported by a coalition of API advocacy organizations, people lined the streets of Minneapolis outside Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office to demand justice after almost a dozen Cambodian Minnesotans were detained for deportation. This isn’t solely in the Cambodian community. Just last year, the story of Lao American DJ Teace aka Thisaphone Sothiphakhak was in the Minneapolis City Pages. “That’s the most frustrating feeling. I went through the court system, and literally something 18 years ago came back and made me feel like I was less than human.” History of deportations: SEARAC reported in 2015 that since 1998, about 16,000 Southeast Asian Americans from Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos have been given deportation orders, the majority on the basis of past criminal convictions where time has already been served. These numbers lead us to systemic double punishment …

Pixels and Patience: An Interview with Peter Chanthanakone

 Peter Chanthanakone is a Canadian-born Lao American, and an award-winning animation director specializing in the 3D animated short film format. Many of our readers had a chance to meet him in Minnesota this year during the National Lao American Symposium and Writers Summit. Currently living in Iowa City, Iowa, he’s the founder of Pixade, as well as an associate professor at the University of Iowa. His newest animated film, Parking Gods (2015) is an official selection of the Hamilton International Film Festival. He’s traveled widely, including Iceland, South Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia and across the US. We caught up with him recently to discuss his journey and what keeps him inspired. Can you tell us a little about yourself, and your family? Where do you consider your roots in Laos, and  what’s a story of your family’s journey to the US that sticks with you? My parents were sponsored by Mennonites in Canada and worked on the farms and then in food processing and kitchen production companies. They were all bunched together with other Laotians so it’s interesting …