5/9/2007--Seattle, WA, USA
Many Uch, 31, walks past a mural of an American flag on the side of a Cambodian grocery store in White Center, on Seattle's southside.
Uch, who arrived in the United States from a refugee camp in 1984 at the age of 8, is awaiting deportation. Uch, once a permanent legal resident of the United States, is being deported because he was convicted of first-degree robbery in 1994. Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Uch’s felony conviction stripped him of his green card and made him eligible for deportation. He had already spent nearly three years in prison for his crime. After languishing in custody for an additional two and a half years awaiting deportation, Uch is now free—thanks to a 2001 Supreme Court ruling banning indefinite detention. But immigration officials could pick him up at any time and ship him to Cambodia even though he has a fiance and daughter in the United States.©2008 Stuart Isett. All rights reserved.