Oakland Cambodian Man Set to be Deported for Nonviolent Drug Case

Che Beau's wife, Sambath Nhep, may not be able to see him before he's deported.
In August, the Express published a news story about the case of Chea Bou, an Oakland man who faced deportation for his involvement in a federal drug case. Immigration reform activists have rallied to Bou’s defense, noting that he has family that depends on him here, and his legal case involved no accusations of violence.

But he’s going to be deported anyway. In the last week, the Cambodian Embassy issued about forty travel documents for Cambodians facing deportation, according to Linda Tam, Bou’s lawyer at the East Bay Community Law Center. “So Chea is one of a number of Cambodians scheduled to be deported,” Tam said. “We don’t have an exact date yet, but we think it will be the week of October 19 or October 26.”

Bou, who is not considered a threat to the community, served approximately a year for his criminal sentence and is being held in an immigration detention jail in Texas. Bou came over as a refugee as a child and has lived in the United States for more than 35 years. His wife, Sambath Nhep, and their minor children, who live in Oakland, have not seen him for a year and a half, and it’s unclear if they will be able to see him before he is deported.

“With Chea, I feel very strongly that deporting him is not going to do any good, especially because his family is relying on him,” said Katrina Dizon, policy manager at the Washington, D.C.-based Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, which has advocated on Bou’s behalf.