Image 1 of 1
12/1/2007--Phnom Penh, Cambodia...The Tiny Toones break dancing troupe was founded by Tuy Sobil (shown here at a show along Phnom Penh's riverfront), a 30 yr old Cambodian deported from the United States in 2004.  Tiny Toones members are are drilled in discipline, honesty, and solidarity and drug abuse is not tolerated. The at-risk kids also learn English from volunteers, usually other deportees from the US, and dance performances allow the kids to help raise money for both Tiny Toones and for themselves to help pay for school fees...The former gang member is Tuy Sobil, 30, who goes by the street name K.K. The boys are Cambodian street children he has taken under his wing as he teaches them the art he brought with him, break dancing, as well as his hard lessons in life..K.K. is not here because he wants to be. He is one of 189 Cambodians who have been banished from the United States in the past six years under a law that mandates deportations for noncitizens who commit felonies. Hundreds more are on a waiting list for deportation. Like most of the others, K.K. is a noncitizen only by a technicality. He was not an illegal immigrant. He was a refugee from Cambodia?s Khmer Rouge ?killing fields? who found a haven in the United States in 1980..He was an infant when he arrived. In fact, he was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and had never seen Cambodia before he was deported. But K.K.?s parents were simple farmers who failed to complete the citizenship process when they arrived..Like some children of poor immigrants, K.K. drifted to the streets, where he became a member of the Crips gang and a champion break dancer. It was only after he was convicted of armed robbery at 18 that he discovered that he was not a citizen..©2007 Stuart Isett. All rights reserved