All posts filed under: Immigration

An Iu Mien Story Pt.1 – #FreeSaelee, The Secret War, and Resettlement

“I would never think that we would have that many supporters,” Naichann Saechao says, referring to the nearly 200,000 signatures collected online to free her nephew Kao from ICE detention.  In fall 2020, the internet was shaken up by the Guardian’s story about an Iu Mien American refugee named Kao Saelee from California. Despite Kao’s service fighting historic wildfires just before finishing his 22 year prison sentence, he was handed over to ICE for deportation to his birth country of Laos. Instead of reuniting with his family who had come to take him home, Kao was taken to an ICE detention facility across the country in Louisiana. Despite calls for a pardon by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Kao is still in ICE detention today. With the massive reaction to Kao Saelee’s story, more people are talking about the plight of young refugees finding their way in America. However, the visibility of these refugee experiences, especially for communities like Iu Mien Americans, remains low. According to Iu Mien Community Services –Iu Mien are a vibrant ethnic …

From The Streets Below

I’m hit by a wave of irony Walking the streets of Columbia Heights, D.C. There sits a President and administration, Not more than a 15 minute drive from here, Doing everything in their power To target immigrants When the landscape of their own backyard Blossoms, sustained by the life force Of those they deem to persecute. Breathing in deep, I’m hit by the aroma of sizzling Mexican dishes, Burgers no more. My ears perk up By the clicking and popping Of tall benign Africans Shooting the breeze in their native tongue, No longer common The smooth canter Of that oh so American Way of speaking. I steer clear off the path Of young Hispanics on bikes Rushing to get the day’s Paper chasing done. I breathe deep with them, Catching the fresh scent, Of that American pie, The young and the old immigrants, Waiting patiently around the table, To carve out our fair share Of the American dream. ~~ In the poet’s own words: