Hong Ung grew up and went to school in Western Sydney – part of one of the many thousands of families displaced by the khmer rouge.
But, after spending 22 years of his life in Australia, he was deported. He’s now homeless on the streets of Cambodia.
“I made a mistake…[I] was a like a gangster and all that and suddenly got deported. I wish I could go back.”
Hong was convicted of demanding money from a shop when he was 19. Now in his mid-forties, he’s ill with cancer and is not permitted to fly home to Australia for medical treatment nor to visit his ageing parents.
The U.S. is also turning tough on criminals who aren’t citizens.
31 year-old Khan moved to America as a baby after being born in a Thai refugee camp. Recently he was deported to Cambodia – a country he’d never even stepped foot in.
“You know, I thought I was permanent. I thought I was there legally, I'm forever there. That you know, you can't remove me from there. Basically, that's what permanent means.”
Khan was jailed for stealing cars. He served his time behind bars and thought that was the end of his punishment. It wasn’t. The U.S then decided to deport him almost ten years after he’d finished his sentence.
Hong and Khan are just two of hundreds of refugees being deported each year after serving time in Australian and American prisons. Dateline asks, should immigrants who commit crimes be deported?
Kicked Back to Cambodia on Dateline, Tuesday, 15 March at 9.30pm on SBS.