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Race & Ethnicity

Asian American Video About Deported Cambodians Rejected by Obama's White House

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Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM

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A White House contest asking people to create the best video about the Asian American experience might have been rigged.

An entry about Cambodian deportees appeared to have received the most views, now more than 18,000, but a half-dozen other video makers were invited to the White House. Though "My Asian Americana" made a list of 11 finalists, it didn't make that final cut.

Here's probably why:

The deportees were sent to Cambodia, a country they barely knew, because they had criminal records, even though many had already completed sentences, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The deportations were part of an aggressive campaign to rid the United States of bad actors from abroad, particularly at a time when there have been repeated calls for secure borders.

But in the case of these Cambodians, they were children when they came to the United States, and they were essentially raised as Americans.

The video portrays testimonials by Cambodians who say they miss their homeland -- America.

It's sad. And it doesn't make the Obama administration's deportations look good, especially when the president is desperately seeking an immigration-sensitive Latino vote.

The speculation, of course, is that this is why the video didn't make the list of invitees to a White House event this month called "Champions of Change."

Even L.A. comedian Paul Kim, whose video did make the cut, tells the Times "My Asian Americana" was the best entry:

That video was the most powerful. It was the most well done. I guess it was just a controversial topic.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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