by JUSTINE CALMA
November 23, 2015
Over the past two decades, more than 13,000 Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Laotian Americans have been served deportation orders, according to the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. Advocates say those communities live in constant fear of being relocated from their homes.
David Ros, second from the left, stands for a photo with his siblings, mother, and extended family. Ros and his family, who fled Cambodia together, are wearing T-shirts donated to them once they reached a refugee camp in Thailand. Courtesy of David RosMemories of captivity are still vivid for David Ros. "I remember clearly the hunger," Ros told NBC News. "And [I remember] the crying and the foraging for anything I [could] find that was edible."
Ros was born in Cambodia in 1974, one year before the capital, Phnom Penh, fell to the Khmer Rouge — a Communist regime that would ultimately claim the lives of two million Cambodians. Because his family was connected to the military—his grandfather had been a lieutenant colonel before the war—Ros, his parents, and siblings were targeted by the Khmer Rouge and detained.
His father was killed and his mother was tortured and beaten, Ros said.
Ros also has memories from the dangerous journey his family took when they escaped to Thailand in 1978: bombs, fires, dead bodies floating down the river.
But Ros says he considers himself and his siblings lucky to have survived long enough to reach a refugee camp and be sponsored by a Catholic organization for resettlement in the United States.
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