Cambodian Nationality Law and the Repatriation of Convicted Aliens
by Jana M. Seng
University of Washington School of Law
Currently the U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") is indefinitely
detaining thousands of aliens who have already completed their criminal sentences. The 1996
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act ("IIRIRA") allows the INS to
detain these convicted aliens while initiating a removal proceeding for deportation to their native
country. Absent from the IIRIRA is a provision addressing whether the INS may indefinitely
detain convicted aliens who cannot be deported because the United States has no repatriation
agreement with the alien's native country. Justification for the indefinite detention rests on the
unfounded assumption that the United States will secure a repatriation agreement in the near
future. However, an analysis of Cambodia's arbitrary practice of determining citizenship and the
lack of uniformity in the proof of nationality under international law will reveal the complexity
involved in negotiating an immediate agreement. For this reason, the U.S. Supreme Court should
preclude the INS' practice of indefinite detention and require an immediate release of indefinite
detainees after they have served their sentence where the native country has no repatriation
agreement with the United States and has not shown a willingness to accept the detainees' return.
In 1996, Congress enacted the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act
("IIRIRA"),1 putting into effect strict deportation provisions against aliens who have been
convicted of crimes that range from aggravated felonies to misdemeanors.2 The IIRIRA instructs
the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") to initiate removal proceedings against
convicted aliens and to deport them to their country of nationality after they have completed their
sentences in the United States.3 The Attorney General has ninety days after the removal order
becomes administratively final to remove the alien.4 However, some convicted aliens cannot be
removed within the ninety-day statutory period and have remained in INS detention indefinitely
because their countries of nationality lack a repatriation agreement with the United States and
refuse to accept their return.5
The IIRIRA's deportation provision has grave consequences for many aliens. For example, the
INS may initiate deportation proceedings against convicted aliens without regard to the alien's
legal resident status6 or long-term residence in the United States.7 As a result, many aliens have
been forced to return to countries to which they have few or no ties.8 Frequently, the
deportation of these aliens results in the forced separation of families9 and may undermine the
financial stability of the family unit.10
In addition, the IIRIRA deportation provision is exhausting administrative resources.11 Aliens
waiting for their deportation occupy jails and detention centers; currently those who cannot be
deported will remain there for an indefinite period.12 Estimates of the number of indefinite
detainees held throughout the United States as of February 2001 have ranged from 3,000 to
4,500.13 Furthermore, deportation proceedings have recently increased. In 1999, the INS
deported 62,359 immigrants for criminal offenses, an increase of seventy-two percent from 1996,
when IIRIRA was enacted. Consequently, indefinite detainees have flooded the INS offices and
courts with habeas corpus petitions challenging their detention.14
Using Cambodia as a model, this Comment argues that the INS should release convicted aliens
who have completed their sentences and are being detained indefinitely because the United States
does not have a repatriation agreement with the detainee's country of nationality. Part II
examines the indefinite detention loophole of the IIRIRA and highlights the case of Kim Ho Ma,
a Cambodian national who successfully sought judicial release from indefinite detention. Part III
describes how IIRIRA conforms with international standards for repatriation. Part IV outlines
Cambodia's nationality and citizenship laws. Part V argues that Cambodia's exclusive
nationality policies will hinder negotiation of a repatriation agreement with the United States.
Part VI recommends that the INS release indefinite detainees who have completed their
sentences and cannot be repatriated to their country of nationality.
II. THE IIRIRA INDEFINITE DETENTION LOOPHOLE
The IIRIRA is silent on the length of time the INS may hold a convicted alien and the INS
therefore maintains that it has the authority to detain such aliens for an unlimited amount of
time.15 This has resulted in the indefinite detention of aliens who have completed their
sentences.16 Contrary to the INS position, the Ninth Circuit held in Ma v. Reno17 that indefinite
detention is unlawful and ordered the release of indefinite detainees held in INS custody.18 Even
so, the INS continues to hold convicted aliens that cannot be repatriated19 while the U.S.
Supreme Court reviews the issue.20
A. The IIRIRA Allows the INS to Detain Aliens Indefinitely
The IIRIRA specifically authorizes the U.S. Attorney General on behalf of the INS to detain21
and remove an alien from the United States who has been found guilty of the crimes enumerated
in 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2).22 The deportation consequence of criminal convictions apply to both
illegal aliens and lawful permanent residents, with few distinctions between the two status.23
After a removal order becomes administratively final, the Attorney General "shall" remove the
alien from the United States "within a period of 90 days" (referred to as the "removal period").24
Furthermore, an alien may be detained beyond the removal period where the alien is deemed "a
risk to the community or unlikely to comply with the order of removal[.]"25 Thus, aliens may be
detained beyond the ninety days after their final administrative removal order while waiting for
However, the statute does not address how long the Attorney General may detain an alien when
the deportation order cannot be effectuated.27 The INS argues that its authority to "detain
[aliens] beyond the removal period" means that it can detain convicted aliens indefinitely.28
Thus, under the interpretation of the INS, it is foreseeable that a convicted alien who has
committed a misdemeanor that renders him deportable can remain in INS custody for life, if the
United States is unable to negotiate a repatriation agreement with the receiving country.29 The
INS' justification for the indefinite detention rests on the assumption that a repatriation
agreement can be secured in the near future because international law dictates that a country must
readmit its nationals.30 The countries where most of the indefinite detainees are from and where
the United States currently has no repatriation agreement with are Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, or
Recently the United States established a delegation to negotiate a repatriation agreement with
Cambodia after realizing the increased number of convicted Cambodian aliens would result in an
undesirable population of indefinite detainees.32 Nevertheless, Cambodian officials have
opposed a repatriation agreement. Cambodia maintains that the detainees either do not have
requisite documents, or that the documents are insufficient to prove their nationality.33 In
addition, many detainees have been in the United States most of their lives, leading Cambodian
officials to believe that the detainees should serve their punishment in the United States and
thereafter be reintegrated into American society.34 Moreover, Cambodia does not have the
resources to rehabilitate the detainees.35 Thus, the possibility that the detainees will commit
crimes in Cambodia are great since many of the detainees are believed to lack the family support,
language, and relevant employment skills to become productive citizens in Cambodia.36
B. Ma v. Reno
Until Ma, most appellate courts upheld the power of the INS to indefinitely detain criminal
aliens.37 In Ma, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the habeas corpus petition of a Cambodian native
who had completed his prison sentence but was being held indefinitely by the INS after
Cambodia refused repatriation.38 Ma's personal background is similar to that of other convicted
Cambodian nationals who are currently in detention or have been in detention and cannot be
repatriated.39 Most often they are males in their late teens to early twenties when convicted;
they have sought asylum in the United States at an early age and have adjusted their refugee
status to that of legal permanent resident; most have not returned to Cambodia since fleeing the
country; and most are not fluent in the their home language.40 Such was the case of Kim Ho
When he was two, Kim Ho Ma fled Cambodia with his family in fear of persecution by the
communist Khmer Rouge.41 They sought asylum in Thailand's refugee camps, living there for
four years before lawfully entering the United States in 1985.42 Soon after, Ma became a legal
permanent resident. He lives in Seattle, Washington and has not returned to Cambodia since his
escape at the age of two.43
When Ma was seventeen, he was convicted of manslaughter for his involvement in a
gang-related shooting.44 As this was Ma's only criminal conviction and because of his good
behavior, he served two years in prison.45 However, after Ma completed his sentence, the INS
denied his release. The INS further found him to be a "danger to the community"46 and detained
him for deportation to Cambodia.47 Manslaughter is a deportable crime under the IIRIRA.48
Ma's order of removal became final on October 26, 1998,49 but the INS could not remove him
within the ninety-day removal period because the United States does not have a repatriation
agreement with Cambodia. Ma's family and friends were also unsuccessful in persuading the
Cambodian government to accept Ma into the country.50 By the time he filed his habeas corpus
petition, Ma had been in INS custody for nearly two years after completing his sentence.51
Ma's petition was one of five cases consolidated to consider the IIRIRA indefinite detention
issue.52 Like Kim Ho Ma, many other indefinite detainees are from Southeast Asian countries
that do not have repatriation agreements with the United States.53 In Ma, the Ninth Circuit
interpreted the IIRIRA deportation provision as granting the INS authority to detain aliens only
for a reasonable amount of time beyond the statutory removal period.54
In light of the Ma decision, the INS voluntarily released 142 detainees, and another fifty-two
have been released by court order.55 However, Ma conflicts with decisions from the Fifth56 and
Tenth Circuits.57 Thus, the INS continues to indefinitely detain criminal aliens within those
jurisdictions.58 The Supreme Court has granted certiorari to hear Reno v. Ma and is likely to
resolve the circuit conflict in the near future.
III. IIRIRA AND INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR REPATRIATION
Under international law, every state has a duty to admit its nationals.59 However, each state
promulgates its own nationality laws and has discretion to determine what evidence is sufficient
proof of nationality. A consequence of the lack of uniform nationality laws is that certain
individuals can become "stateless" and cannot be repatriated. Thus, to the extent that the IIRIRA
relies on the uniformity of nationality laws to effectuate its deportation provision, its indefinite
detention loophole is exacerbated.
A. The Duty of Sovereign States to Grant Admission to Their Nationals
The principle that every state has a duty to admit its own nationals is widely accepted as a
customary international rule of law.60 International law regulates the movement of persons
across state borders, and thus imposes certain duties, such as the duty to admit nationals, on the
states in order that the movement can be effective. However, it is unclear to whom the duty to
admit nationals is owed. One argument is that the duty is owed between states and that the duty
is a corollary of the right of states to expel non-nationals from its territory.61 However the right
to expulsion is subject to limitations. For example, its exercise is confined only to aliens, only in
the event of the lawful exercise of states' rights, and only in those cases in which no foreign state
is prepared to permit the expelled person to settle in its territory.62 Furthermore, the extent to
which a state is free to expel aliens who have effectively acquired nationality by virtue of
long-term residence is a matter for debate.63
The duty of admission has also been viewed as a duty owed to the national seeking reentry into
the state.64 In this context, the duty is corollary to the individual's right to return to "one's own
country" as recognized in article 13(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ("Universal
Declaration"): "[e]veryone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to
his country." 65 Although the Universal Declaration is not a legally enforceable instrument,66
the international community's repeated reliance on it as a normative instrument has given rise to a
universally binding customary law.67 Furthermore, modern human rights treaties, such as the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR")68 and the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination ("Convention on
Discrimination")69 have developed to give more detailed legal effect to the Universal
Declaration.70 Cambodia is a signatory to both instruments.71 The international community
narrowly construes "one's own country" as the right of nationals or citizens to return to a country
in which they live or have lived.72 This right is enforceable not merely by the individual but by
interstate action, such as by court order or by legislation.73
In summary, international laws such as the ICCPR and the Convention on Discrimination
delineate the duty to admit nationals. Cambodia, as a signatory to both conventions and a
member of the international community, therefore has a duty to admit its nationals.
B. Non-Uniform Nationality Laws Exacerbate the IIRIRA Indefinite Detention Loophole by
Creating "Stateless" Individuals
Each state decides for itself what constitutes nationality and how nationality can be proven. As a
result, some individuals may not be able to demonstrate nationality in any country, thereby
becoming "stateless." This exacerbates the IIRIRA indefinite detention loophole, which rests on
the premise that every alien is eventually deportable.
1. International Standards for Nationality Laws
To effectuate the deportation provision of the IIRIRA, the receiving state must (1)
recognize the nationality of the individual seeking admission to its territory and (2) recognize its
duty to admit those nationals. Thus, the United States' power to expel aliens under the IIRIRA is
correlative to and is dependent on the receiving state's willingness to grant admission to
A state's recognition of its nationals and its duty to admit nationals is a matter associated with the
sovereignty of the state and thus left within national jurisdiction.74 Article 1 of the 1930
Convention on Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws ("Convention on
Conflict") provides that "[i]t is for each State to determine under its own law who are its
nationals" and article 2 further provides that "any questions as to whether a person possesses the
nationality of a particular State shall be determined in accordance with the law of that State."75
Thus international law leaves to each sovereign state the inherent right to promulgate laws and
regulations as it sees fit. However, limitations to these rights are recognized in cases where their
exercise would be inconsistent with international conventions, international custom, and
principles of law generally recognized with regard to nationality.76
The most pertinent international instruments relating to the law of nationality are the
conventions relating to statelessness and discrimination. The Convention Relating to the Status
of Stateless Persons ("Convention on Statelessness") provides that an individual may not be
deprived of his nationality so as to render him stateless. A stateless person is one "who is not
considered a national by any state under the operation of its law."77 Although Cambodia is not a
signatory to the Convention on Statelessness, its obligation under the customary law of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights dictates a similar goal as the Convention on
Statelessness. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration states that "[e]veryone has a right to a
nationality," and "[n]o one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality[.]"78 The Convention
on Statelessness has been interpreted to prevent the same undesirable situation of statelessness.79
The Convention on Discrimination is also relevant to nationality laws.80 Specifically, Article 5
emphasizes the need to avoid discrimination in the treatment of state nationals who wish to cross
its borders.81 Cambodia ratified the Convention on Discrimination in 1994.82
2. International Standards for Proof of Nationality
International law recognizes that proof of nationality is within the domestic jurisdiction of each
sovereign state.83 For example, Article 2 of the Convention on Conflict84 establishes that
"[a]ny question as to whether a person possesses the nationality of a particular state shall be
determined in accordance with the law of that State."85 Typically, an individual who claims that
his nationality entitles him to enter a state commonly bears the burden of proving his national
What is considered acceptable evidence varies according to the jurisdiction. A number of states
follow a combination of jus soli and jus sanguinis methods in determining nationality.87
Evidence of birth in the territory is sufficient in jus soli states.88 By comparison, proof of
descent from parents that are nationals is necessary in jus sanguinis states, which adhere to the
principle that a child's nationality follows that of the parents.89 Proof of nationality in jus
sanguinis states is more difficult. It involves not only evidence of descent from the parent who is
a national, but also evidence of the parent's nationality.90
Typically, official documents such as a passport or consular certificate suffice as evidence of
nationality.91 Where valid documents are not available, another method of determining
nationality is the "effective link" doctrine developed in the Nottebohm case (Liechtenstein v.
Guatemala).92 In Nottebohm, the International Court of Justice held that that a person is a
national of a country if he or she has a specific, effective link to the country, such that there is a
genuine connection between a state and the person.93 The Court defined nationality as "a legal
bond having as its basis a social fact of attachment, a genuine connection of existence, interests
and sentiments, together with the existence of reciprocal rights and duties."94 Habitual residence
is recognized as an important factor in the determination of an individual's effective link to a
country.95 The effective link doctrine can be useful particularly where nationality cannot be
established by documentary evidence, as is common with refugees who have fled their countries
in fear of war or violence.96
In the absence of documentary evidence of nationality, international tribunals occasionally allow
secondary evidence of nationality or evidence from which nationality may be inferred, such as
voting in elections, holding public office, or offering witness testimony as corroborative evidence
of nationality.97 The Convention on Conflict was an early attempt to resolve conflicts of
nationality laws and defined nationality in terms of habitual residence or other close
connection.98 Article 5 of the Convention on Conflict provides that "a third State shall, of the
nationalities which any such person possesses, recognize exclusively in its territory either the
nationality of the country in which he is habitually and principally resident, or the nationality of
the country with which in the circumstances he appears to be in fact most closely connected."99
In summary, sovereign states have a duty to readmit their nationals. However, each state has
wide discretion in determining who is a national. This discretion has led to conflicts amongst the
states. Furthermore this conflict aggravates the IIRIRA indefinite detention problem by creating
IV. OVERVIEW OF CAMBODIA'S NATIONALITY LAWS
The Constitution, the Nationality Law, and the Law on Khmer Nationality Identity Cards
("Identity Cards Law") are the most relevant sources of law that deal with Cambodian nationality.
The Constitution enumerates the rights and obligations of Khmer citizens.100 The Nationality
Law explains, among other things, who is a Khmer citizen.101 The National Identity Cards
Law102 provides guidance about what kind of evidence is sufficient to demonstrate citizenship.
A. The Constitution Limits Cambodia's Duty to Admit Nationals
The Agreement on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict ("Settlement
Agreement") is the principal accord of the Paris Accords and contains annexes discussing
arrangements of the transitional period, military aspects of the settlement, elections, repatriation
of refugees and displaced persons, and constitutional principles.103 Although the Settlement
Agreement provides for the right of displaced Cambodians to return home,104 Cambodia's
Constitution limits the duty to readmit "Khmer citizens" only.105 The Settlement Agreement
provides that "[a]ll persons in Cambodia and all Cambodian refugees and displaced persons shall
enjoy the rights and freedoms embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other
relevant international human rights instruments."106 The Universal Declaration provides for the
right to return to one's own country.107 Nevertheless, the Constitution is silent on the rights of
undocumented Cambodians, particularly ethnic minorities, to travel in or return to Cambodia.
Specifically, Article 33 provides that "Khmer citizens shall not be deprived of their
nationality,"108 and Article 40 states that "Khmer citizens shall have the right to travel and settle
abroad and return to the country."109 Thus, although the Cambodian government does have a
duty to admit nationals to its territory, the scope of the constitutional duty is limited to "Khmer
There are two problems with the "Khmer citizen" approach found in the Cambodian
Constitution. First, this approach grants no rights to the undocumented non-citizens residents of
Cambodia. Such an exclusion of non-citizens violates the ICCPR,110 which states that
"everyone lawfully within the territory" has a right to "liberty of movement and freedom to
choose his residence."111 The second problem is that the Cambodian Constitution does not
define "Khmer citizen."112 Thus, the Cambodian legislature was given the discretion to define
who is a citizen.113 In 1994, Cambodia adopted an Immigration Law that detailed the
procedures and requirements non-citizens must meet to qualify for citizenship.114 However, the
Immigration Law provided no guidance about who is a Khmer citizen.115 In 1996, Cambodia
enacted a Nationality Law116 in an attempt to resolve the issue of who is a Khmer citizen.117
B. Cambodia's Nationality Law
Critics have speculated that the drafters of the Nationality Law sought to evade criticism that
government officials wished to rid the country of residents who were not of Khmer descent.118
Thus, the Nationality Law adopts a combination of the jus sanguinis and jus soli principles for
determining how a person acquires Khmer nationality. Article 4(1) provides the jus sanguinis
principle, granting citizenship to a child "regardless of the place of birth" if the child was born
from a parent who has Khmer nationality or citizenship.119 Article 4(2) imparts the jus soli
principle, granting citizenship to a person "born in the Kingdom of Cambodia[,]" including any
child who is "born and living legally in the Kingdom of Cambodia."120
C. Proof of Nationality Under the National Identity Card Law
Cambodia's Nationality Law provides that the Identity Card Law governs proof of nationality.121
The Identity Card Law provides that identity cards can be granted only to Khmer citizens.122
Article 4 provides that government officials shall consider the following factors when deciding
whether to issue an identity card: (1) birth certificates; (2) judgments of the court stating that
such persons were born from fathers or mothers who have Khmer nationality; (3) royal decrees
proclaiming the recognition of the request for Khmer nationality by the concerned persons; (4)
royal decrees proclaiming the recognition of the application for Khmer nationality by the
concerned persons; (5) documents or evidence proving that the concerned persons were born in
Cambodia to fathers or mothers who were born in Cambodia; (6) documents or evidence proving
that the concerned persons used to have Khmer nationality, or documents or evidence proving
that the concerned persons were born to fathers or mothers who had Khmer nationality; and (7)
any documents which could prove that such person is a Khmer citizen.123 The Ministry of
Interior examines the evidence of nationality, makes a determination, and receives approval from
the Royal Government.124 Khmer national identity cards are valid for ten years from the issue
date and must be renewed thereafter.125
V. MANY CAMBODIAN REFUGEES CANNOT DEMONSTRATE APPROPRIATE
PROOF OF NATIONALITY BECAUSE OF CIVIL UNREST, CHANGING LAWS, AND
For the most part, Cambodia's nationality-related human rights problems are not attributable to a
failure to recognize such human rights in its laws, such as the Constitution or the Nationality
Law.126 In accordance with international human rights norms, Cambodia's Constitution and the
Settlement Agreement impose a duty, although it is limited, to admit nationals. Likewise, the
Nationality Law provides a relatively broad definition of who is a Khmer citizen. Instead, the
crucial problem lies with both the Cambodian government's frequent disregard for the authority
of the Constitution, and the power of corrupt officials.127 For example, the Identity Card Law
establishes overly stringent procedures for demonstrating evidence of nationality. This is
particularly troubling for Cambodian refugees who fled the country without documentation and
have resettled in other countries. Many of these refugees cannot provide adequate proof of
nationality by documentation or establish an "effective link" to Cambodia.
A. Difficulties Establishing Proof of Nationality by Documentation
There are several reasons why Cambodian refugees cannot establish nationality by
documentation. The official documentation of some refugees was destroyed or lost during the
years of civil unrest.128 Some have documentation that the government considers insufficient or
old, because the laws for citizenship verification have changed over time.129 Others have
obtained their documentation fraudulently from corrupt officials.130
1. Lack of Documentation Because of Civil Unrest
Cambodia's history of civil unrest has forced a massive departure of its citizens into
neighboring countries and abroad,131 and as a result, many Cambodian refugees do not have
official birth certificates or any other identification to establish their citizenship.132 Over half a
million of Cambodia's residents133 fled during the decades of turmoil, and in most of those
cases, citizenship records were lost or destroyed.134 The 1975 revolution inspired a massive
refugee departure.135 The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1979 led to another major
exodus of refugees.136
For those Cambodians who returned relatively quickly, the documentation problem was
not as serious. By their continued residency, they were eventually able to obtain some
documentation, such as government-issued family books used a form of citizenship identification
or government identification cards.137 However, nationality has been more difficult to prove for
those Cambodians who resettled in other countries. As most refugees who escaped persecution
and resettled in a third country had little or no contact with Cambodia for years, their options for
obtaining nationality documentation became limited.138 In short, political instability has caused
hundreds of thousands to flee Cambodia with no way of obtaining documentation.
2. Inadequate Documentation Because of New Laws
Because the current government may not recognize Cambodian identification cards issued from
previous regimes,139 even those Cambodians who do possess identification can face citizenship
documentation problems.140 Thus, even those who fled Cambodia with identification may not
be recognized as nationals upon their return.141 The current Cambodian government is
generally unwilling to recognize old identification cards, fearing that the cards were sold to aliens
or illegally issued by corrupt officials.142
Furthermore, nationality verification systems continue to change. Following the Peace Accords,
the United Nations established the UNTAC in Cambodia to create a neutral political environment
to hold free and fair elections.143 UNTAC supervised the first national election in Cambodia in
1993 and assisted in the registration of eligible voters.144 This system identified citizens by
providing identification cards to Cambodian citizens under the State of Cambodia.145 UNTAC
acknowledged the citizenship of any resident who was born in Cambodia or who had lived in
Cambodia for a minimum of five years.146 However, following the departure of UNTAC, the
new regime instituted a new identification system in 1999, replacing the registration papers
issued and recognized by UNTAC and previous governments.147 These arbitrary policy changes
impose an undue burden on undocumented citizens to verify their nationality. In addition, such
changes allow government officials excessive discretion in determining who is a qualified citizen
entitled to the rights protected under the Constitution.
3. Corruption and Fraudulent Documentation
Concerns over illegal immigrants fraudulently obtaining nationality identification have led
officials to question the legitimacy of identification cards, especially when the person who
possesses the card is an "undesirable", i.e., an ethnic minority.148 Without question, corruption
flourishes in Cambodia, in large part because the military, the police, and other civil servants are
not well paid.149 Although Cambodian citizenship requirements are rigid, problems on
applications are often over-looked when the applicant offers money or gifts to the reviewing
official(s).150 In addition, the laws are often unclear and applied at the discretion of government
officials who lack basic training and skills to properly execute the laws.151
Corrupt officials and weak border control have allowed Cambodia to become a common transit
point for illegal aliens and a safe haven for those seeking to evade the law.152 Many pay
thousands of dollars to purchase false documents in order to reach destinations via Cambodia.153
For example, between January and March 2000, Cambodia deported 700 illegal Chinese
immigrants.154 Cambodian police found these illegal aliens, awaiting documentation to enter
such countries as Australia, the United States and France, after raids on homes owned by military
officials.155 The government blames the influx of illegal immigrants, and the failure to combat
it, on corruption within the police.156 Others blame this immigration problem on a lack of
training and supervision of immigration officials.157 As a result of the problem with illegal
immigrants, the Cambodian government has adopted exclusionist immigration and nationality
In summary, political instability, changing laws and corruption aggravate the nationality
documentation problem in Cambodia and result in statelessness for many undocumented
Cambodians. Furthermore, without a fair and reliable nationality documentation system,
Cambodia is unlikely to reach a repatriation agreement with the United States.
B. Difficulties Establishing Proof of Nationality by the "Effective Link" Doctrine
Absent acceptable documentary evidence, the "effective link" doctrine can establish citizenship,
according to international law.159 Habitual residence and sufficient connection with the country
are important factors in establishing an "effective link."160 Similarly, the Identity Card Law
establishes residence and a willingness to maintain ties with the country as important criteria in
determining nationality. However, corruption and the broad discretion given to Cambodian
officials are difficult hurdles to overcome for those refugees who resettled elsewhere but wish to
return under the "effective link" doctrine.
Each state decides for itself what constitutes adequate proof of an "effective link" where
documentary evidence is not available.161 In Cambodia, if the resettled refugee has no
citizenship documentation, officials often conduct an interview to decide whether to readmit the
refugee.162 The officials consider several factors, including where the refugee was born, family
ties to Cambodia, when the refugee left Cambodia, how long the refugee has lived in their
current country of residence, and how well the refugee speaks Khmer.163 Applicants for new
identification cards must present, at a minimum, proof of former long-term residence in
Cambodia, fluency in the Khmer language, and familiarity with Cambodian culture.164 It may
be necessary to confirm former residence by means of testimony from neighbors or others who
can confirm the former residence of the individual concerned. These discretionary factors can be
difficult to prove and can provide opportunities for abuse of power by officials.
The negative impact of this discretion on refugees is illustrated by the ethnic Vietnamese's flight
from their Cambodian homes after a Siem Reap massacre in 1993.165 The Cambodian
government later prevented their return, claiming that they were Vietnamese with no history of
residence or right to return.166 However, when the United Nations and human rights groups
such as Amnesty International conducted interviews to determine the effective link of the
individuals to Cambodia, they concluded that the refugees had significant ties to the country.167
Many had lived in Cambodia for generations, yet this evidence was insufficient to the
Cambodian government, who claimed they lacked sufficient official documentation to prove
citizenship.168 Some had identity cards, but the cards were issued under previous governments.
Under significant international pressure, the Cambodian authorities worked in cooperation with
the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ("UNCHR"), and Cambodian
non-governmental organizations to create a register of ethnic Vietnamese refugees from
The broad discretion accorded Cambodian officials in making nationality decisions is not the
international norm. For example, in other countries that have experienced an influx of refugees,
the countries of origin have usually recognized that it is impracticable or impossible to verify the
identity of each individual, and have accepted UNHCR or other records as reliable evidence.170
Despite this trend, Cambodia continues not to recognize such evidence.171
In short, the "effective link" doctrine in concert with the Identity Card Law provides a means to
determine citizenship without documentation. However, a refugee's ability to establish an
"effective link" to Cambodia becomes more difficult the longer the refugee is away from the
country. In addition, the Identity Card Law leaves the "effective link" determination to the
discretion of Cambodian officials, who have a history of abuse of power and disregard for human
VI. CURRENT EFFORTS TO NEGOTIATE A REPATRIATION AGREEMENT WITH CAMBODIA
A United States delegation is currently attempting to negotiate an agreement with Cambodia to
repatriate convicted aliens.172 Encouragingly, Cambodian officials have begun to conduct
interviews with detainees seeking admission to the country. They have agreed to review detainee
questionnaires to determine whether an "effective link" exists.173 The questionnaire focuses on
the detainee's residency in Cambodia and includes the following lines: "address before departing
for the United States," "present address," "occupation and place before 1970," "occupation and
place from 1970-1975," "occupation and place from 1975-1979," and "occupation and place from
1979 onward."174 However, it is likely that many refugees will not be able to establish an
"effective link" to Cambodia because they have resided in the United States since they were
young, such as at the age of six in Ma's case.
The Supreme Court should affirm the Ninth Circuit in Ma v. Reno and order the INS to release
indefinite detainees who have completed their sentences and cannot be repatriated. The INS
justifies the indefinite detention of "undeportable" criminal aliens on the assumption that the
alien will someday become "deportable." The INS points to the international duty to readmit
citizens and argues that the United States will negotiate repatriation agreements with every
country. However, an examination of Cambodian nationality policies demonstrates otherwise.
Cambodia's arbitrary nationality policies and political instability make a repatriation agreement
with the United States unlikely. While Cambodia's Constitution and its Nationality Law grant
the right to travel and reenter the country to "Khmer citizens," decades of war, changing laws,
and corruption have left many Cambodians without documentation of their citizenship. Further,
refugees who have remained in the United States most of their lives cannot establish an
"effective link" with Cambodia. Moreover, the broad discretion granted to Cambodian
nationality officials can lead to arbitrary citizenship determinations. Thus, the INS has based its
justification for indefinite detention on a faulty assumption. Detainees' liberty should not be
indefinitely restrained because the United State is unable to negotiate a repatriation agreement or
because the detainee's native country is unwilling to accommodate their return.
On 28 June 2001, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Zadvydas v. Davis that the government may
not detain deportable aliens indefinitely simply for lack of a country willing to take them. The
decision rejected the government's view that immigration law authorized and the Constitution permitted
indefinite, even lifelong detention of immigrants adjudged deportable but unable to be repatriated.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer's majority opinion stated that the court would construe the law to
permit only "reasonable" detention. If deportation did not seem likely in the "reasonably foreseeable
future" after six months of detention, the government would have to come up with special reasons for
keeping someone in custody.
The majority opinion was joined by Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
1 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Pub. L. No.
104-208, 110 Stat. 3009-546 (codified in scattered sections of 8 U.S.C.). In 1996, the Illegal
Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act ("IIRIRA") was passed by a bipartisan
majority in Congress and signed by President Clinton in response to the public's anti-crime and
anti-immigration sentiments. The IIRIRA is an attempt to slow illegal immigration by increasing
the number of border patrols, limiting judicial review, and introducing new penalties for a variety
of immigration control violations. See Trevor Morrison, Removed from the Constitution?
Deportable Aliens' Access to Habeas Corpus Under the New Immigration Legislation, 35
COLUM. J. TRANSNAT'L L. 697, 697 (1997).
2 For a list of "deportable" crimes, see 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2) (2000), which includes crimes
of moral turpitude, aggravated felony, high speed flight, possession of controlled substance,
possession of a firearm, domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, and failure to register and
falsification of documents.
3 Id. § 1231(a).
4 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(1)(A)-(B) provides for the detention, release, and removal of aliens
[W]hen an alien is ordered removed, the Attorney General shall remove the alien from the United
states within a period of 90 days . . ." and the "removal period begins on the latest of the
following: (i) The date the order of removal becomes administratively final; (ii) If the removal
order is judicially reviewed and if a court orders a stay of the removal of the alien, the date of the
court's final order; (iii) If the alien is detained or confined (except under an immigration
process), the date the alien is released from detention or confinement.
8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(1)(A)-(B).
5 See Varied Routes Led Immigrants to INS Custody, SEATTLE P-I, June 17, 1999, at B1
[hereinafter Varied Routes] (giving reasons that include lack of proper documentation of
citizenship, fraud in obtaining documents, and successive government's refusal to acknowledge
the prior government's form of identification).
6 A legal "permanent resident" is an immigrant who has been granted the privilege of
residing permanently in the United States. 8 U.S.C. § 1101 (2000).
7 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a).
8 See Varied Routes, supra note 5.
9 For reports of the disruption of the family unit as a result of the deportation of convicted
aliens under IIRIRA, see Chris Hedges, Spousal Deportation, Family Ruin as Breadwinners Are
Exiled, N.Y. TIMES, Jan. 10, 2001, at NY Region; Jenifer Hanrahan, Blind Justice; Does
Immigration Law Cross a Line When It Rips Families Apart?, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIB., May
21, 2000, at D1; Anthony Lewis, Cases That Cry Out, TULSA WORLD, Mar. 26, 2000, at 6;
Susan Levine, On the Verge of Exile; For Children Adopted From Abroad, Lawbreaking Brings
Deportation, WASH. POST, Mar. 5, 2000, at A1; Lise Olsen, Old Convictions Haunting
Families Starting New Lives, SEATTLE P-I, Apr. 7, 1999, at A1.
10 Olsen, supra note 9.
11 FY2001 Budget for the FBI, DEA and INS: Hearing of the Commerce, Justice, State and
Judiciary Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, 106th Cong. (2000)
[hereinafter Hearing] (discussing the fiscal year 2001 budget for the INS).
13 See Florangela Davila, Immigrants' Case Going to High Court, SEATTLE TIMES, Feb.
21, 2001, at B1; Monica Whitaker, Laotian in Legal Limbo Tougher Legislation Often Makes
Trouble With the Law an Even Bigger, THE TENNESSEAN, Oct. 23, 2000, at 1A.
14 Since the enactment of IIRIRA, the number of habeas petitions filed by detainees seeking
release from detention have increased significantly, causing an administrative backlog. See
Hearing, supra note 11.
15 Ma v. Reno, 208 F.3d 815 (9th Cir. 2000), cert. granted, 69 U.S.L.W. 3257 (U.S. Oct. 10,
2000) (No. 00-38); see also Varied Routes, supra note 5.
16 See infra Part II.A.
17 See discussion infra Part II.B.
18 Ma, 208 F.3d at 821.
19 See Hedges, supra note 9; Hanrahan, supra note 9; Lewis, supra note 9.
20 See Davila, supra note 13.
21 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(2).
22 Id. § 1227(a)(2).
23 For example, an aggravate felony conviction invokes the same strict exclusionary and
deportability standards that apply to all aliens, regardless of their status. See Bruce Robert
Marley, Exiling the New Felons: The Consequences of the Retroactive Application of
Aggravated Felony Convictions to Lawful Permanent Residents, 35 SAN DIEGO L. REV. 855,
24 Id. § 1231(a)(1)(C).
25 Id. § 1231(a)(6).
26 The use of indefinite detention to deter repeat offenses is a questionable objective,
particularly in the situation where the alien has only committed a minor offense or where the
detainee has exemplified rehabilitative behavior. See Ma, 208 F.3d at 819 (disapproving of the
Attorney General's characterization of Ma as a "danger to the community").
27 Id. at 821.
29 See infra Part VI.
30 For arguments for long-term detention by an INS official, see Varied Routes, supra note
5; see also infra Part III.
31 See Barry Newman, Slender Mercies: U.S. Moves Swiftly to Deport Aliens with Prison
Records, WALL ST. J. EUROPE, July 12, 1999, available at 1999 WL-WSJE 18408832.
32 Telephone Interview with Jean Christensen, District Director for Immigration and
Naturalization Service, U.S. Embassy in Bangkok (May 10, 2000).
33 Telephone Interview with Nou Hak, Political Consular, Cambodian Embassy in
Washington, D.C. (May 10, 2000) [hereinafter Nou Hak].
34 Lise Olsen, 'Men Without Countries' Create a Class of Unremovables, SEATTLE P-I,
Apr. 6, 1999, at A1. A similar reason was provided by a Vietnamese police chief regarding the
acceptance of convicted aliens ordered deported from the United States: "When they left my
country they were small children, they went to the camps and then they went to your inner cities
and became hardened criminals. We don't want them." Id. Vietnam, like Cambodia, does not
have a repatriation treaty with the United States and similarly has not offered repatriation to the
indefinite detainees ordered deported to its country. Id.
35 Nou Hak, supra note 33.
37 See, e.g., Zadvydas v. Underdown, 185 F.3d 279, 279 (5th Cir. 1999) cert. granted, 69
U.S.L.W. 3257 (U.S. Oct. 10, 2000) (No. 99-7791) (holding that long-term detention of
removable aliens who have been ordered deported does not violate substantive due process); Ho
v. Greene, 204 F.3d 1045, 1057 (10th Cir. 2000) (concluding that because § 1231(a)(6) was
silent as to any time duration, "Congress intended to and expressly did authorize the Attorney
General to indefinitely detain certain removable aliens").
38 Ma, 208 F.3d at 818.
39 Interview with Jay Stansell, Federal Public Defender, in Seattle, Wash. (May 2, 2000)
[hereinafter Jay Stansell].
41 Interview with Kim Ho Ma in Seattle, Wash. (June 8, 2000) [hereinafter Kim Ho Ma].
46 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(6) authorizes the Attorney General to detain an alien beyond the
removal period if the Attorney General determines that the alien is a "risk to the community or
unlikely to comply with the order of removal."
47 The determination that Ma was a "risk to the community" was made by an INS deputy
director despite the fact that Ma's manslaughter conviction was his only criminal conviction and
an INS report that shows that Ma is likely to be rehabilitated if released. Ma, 208 F.3d at 819.
48 See 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2).
49 Id. at 819.
50 Kim Ho Ma, supra note 41.
51 Ma, 208 F.3d at 818.
52 See Ma, 208 F.3d at 819. Over 100 detainees filed habeas corpus petitions seeking
release from INS detention. The district court designated five lead cases that presented issues
common to all petitioners and directed the parties to brief and argue those issues before five
district court judges. The five district court judges issued a joint order establishing a legal
framework to apply to each individual case. Judge Robert S. Lasnik issued the opinion in Ma v.
Reno. Id. at 815.
53 Other Southeast Asian countries that have refused to readmit criminal aliens from the
U.S. are Laos and Vietnam. See Varied Routes, supra note 5.
54 Ma, 208 F.3d at 818.
55 See Carri Geer, Immigrants Finally Find Freedom, LAS VEGAS REV.-J., July 10, 2000,
56 See Zadvydas, 185 F.3d at 279.
57 See Ho, 204 F.3d at 1057.
58 Alex Tizon, Should Sentence Alone Set Captivity? Cambodian's Case Illustrates
Argument, SEATTLE TIMES, Feb. 15, 2000, at B1.
59 See infra Part III.A.
60 RICHARD PLENDER, INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION LAW 133 (2d ed. rev. 1988).
61 Id. at 133-34.
63 GUY S. GOODWIN-GILL, INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE MOVEMENT OF
PERSONS BETWEEN STATES 201, 255-61 (1978). Proponents of the doctrine of "legitimate
expectations" of the alien who is admitted for any substantial period of time, especially one who
is admitted for permanent residence, advance the argument that such aliens have interests which
warrant more protection than those who have just arrived. This follows the belief that such
"alien who is deported suffers a punishment distinctive by reason of his alienage, and the longer
he has been resident in the host country, the greater will be the hardship." Id. at 261.
64 PLENDER, supra note 60, at 134-37.
65 Universal Declaration of Human Rights art. 13(2), U.N. GAOR, 3d Sess. at 71, U.N. Doc.
A/810 (1948) [hereinafter Universal Declaration].
66 The Universal Declaration is not a treaty and thus has no force of law. Its purpose is to
provide goals and principles that each country should aspire to achieve. THOMAS
BUERGENTAL, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS IN A NUTSHELL 29 (1988).
67 Id. at 31-33.
68 Article 12(4) provides that "[n]o one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his
own country." International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, art. 12(4), 21 U.N. GAOR
Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966) (entered into force Mar. 23, 1976) [hereinafter
69 Article 5(d)(ii) provides that States Parties would undertake to guarantee everyone "[t]he
right to leave any country, including one's own, and to return to one's country." International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, opened for signature Mar.
7, 1966, art. 5(d)(ii), 660 U.N.T.S. 195, 220 [hereinafter Convention on Discrimination].
70 PLENDER, supra note 60, at 134-35.
71 Stephen P. Marks, The New Cambodian Constitution: From Civil War to a Fragile
Democracy, 26 COLUM. HUM. RTS. L. REV. 45, 70 n.88, 94 n.152 (1994).
72 HURST HANNUM, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE AND RETURN IN INTERNATIONAL
LAW AND PRACTICE 56-60 (1987).
73 PLENDER, supra note 60, at 134.
74 P. WEIS, NATIONALITY AND STATELESSNESS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW 65
(2d ed. rev. 1979).
75 Convention on Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws, Apr. 12,
1930, art. 1, 2 179 L.N.T.S. 89, 99 [hereinafter Convention on Conflict].
76 Id. art. 1.
77 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, opened for signature Apr. 26,
1954, art. 1, 360 U.N.T.S. 117, 136.
78 Universal Declaration, supra note 65, art. 15.
79 THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS: A COMMON
STANDARD OF ACHIEVEMENT 307 (Gudmundur Alfredsson & Asbjorn Eide eds., 1999).
80 Convention on Discrimination, supra note 69, at 216.
81 Id. art. 5.
82 Marks, supra note 71, at 94 n.152.
83 WEIS, supra note 74, at 204.
84 Convention on Conflict, supra note 75, art. 2, 179 U.N.T.S. at 101.
85 Id. art. 2.
86 PLENDER, supra note 60, at 149.
87 WEIS, supra note 74, at 95. Jus soli is translated as "law of the soil." GERHARD VON
GLAHN, LAW AMONG NATIONS: AN INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL
LAW 205 (6th ed. 1992). Jus sanguinis is translated as "law of the blood." Id. at 206.
90 Id. at 217.
91 Id. at 222-36; see also RUTH DONNER, THE REGULATION OF NATIONALITY IN
INTERNATIONAL LAW 68 (1983).
92 The Nottebohm Case (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala), 1955 I.C.J. 4, 23 (Apr. 6) [hereinafter
Nottebohm]. See VON GLAHN, supra note 87, at 207.
93 Nottebohm, 1955 I.C.J. at 24.
94 Id. at 23.
95 DONNER, supra note 91, at 61.
96 Amnesty Int'l, Nationality, Expulsion, Statelessness and the Right to Return, AI INDEX:
ASA 14/01/00 (Sept. 2000), at 14, Amnesty Int'l Library (Bhutan), at http://www.amnesty.org.
97 WEIS, supra note 74, at 216.
98 Convention on Conflict, supra note 75, art. 5, 179 L.N.T.S. at 101; see WEIS, supra note
74, at. 163.
100 The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, in 3 Constitutions of the Countries of the World (Albert P. Blaustein &
Gisbert H. Flanz eds., 1994) [hereinafter Cambodia Const.].
101 Law on Nationality (adopted by the National Assembly Aug. 20, 1996) ch. I, art. 2
(Cambodia), in Laws and Regulations of Cambodia, at
http://www.bigpond.com.kh/Council_of_Jurists (last visited Feb. 21, 2001) [hereinafter
102 Sub-Decree on Khmer Nationality Identity Cards (adopted by the Prime Minister July 26,
1996) (Cambodia), in Laws and Regulations of Cambodia, at
http://www.bigpond.com.kh/Council_of_Jurists (last visited Feb. 21, 2001) [hereinafter Identity
Cards Law] .
103 The agreements signed in Paris on October 23, 1991, include a set of four documents: (1) Final Act of the Paris Conference;
(2) Agreement on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict, with Annexes [hereinafter Settlement Agreement];
(3) the Agreement Concerning the Sovereignty, Independence, Territorial Integrity and Inviolability, Neutrality and National Unity
of Cambodia; and (4) the Declaration on the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Cambodia.
104 See Settlement Agreement, supra note 103, art. 20, pt. V; see
also Universal Declaration, supra note 65, art. 13(2).
105 See CAMBODIA CONST., supra note 100, arts. 33, 40.
106 Settlement Agreement, supra note 103, art. 15, pt. III. Pertinent
human rights convention include the ICCPR, supra note 68, the International Covenant on
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on Discrimination, supra note 69.
Steven R. Ratner, The Cambodian Settlement Agreements, 87 Am. J. Int’l L. 25-26 (1993).
107 Universal Declaration, supra note 65, art. 13(2).
108 CAMBODIA CONST., supra note 100, art. 33.
109 Id. art. 40.
110 See ICCPR, supra note 68, art. 12(4).
111 Marks, supra note 71, at 126.
112 Jennifer S. Berman, No Place Like Home: Anti-Vietnameses Discrimination and Nationality in Cambodia, 84 Calif. L. Rev. 821-22 (1996).
113 Nationality Law, supra note 101, pmbl.
114 Law on Immigration (adopted by the National Assembly Sept. 22, 1994) (Cambodia), in
LAWS OF CAMBODIA 113-28 (Sok Siphana ed., 1998) [hereinafter Immigration Law].
115 Berman, supra note 112, at 817.
116 Nationality Law, supra note 101.
117 See Sokhet Ros, Cambodia: Nationality Law Gets the Nod After Heated Debate,
CAMBODIA TIMES, Aug. 26, 1996, available at 1996 WL 11707210.
118 Berman, supra note 112, at 821. Human rights activists
speculated that Cambodia's legislature was reluctant to define nationality because it did not want
the Vietnamese to seek citizenship. Some also speculated that the Cambodian legislature was
prepared to deport all of its ethnic Vietnamese residents back to Vietnam following the
enactment of the nationality law. Id. at 822
119 Nationality Law, supra note 101, art. 4(1).
120 Id. art. 4(2).
121 Nationality Law, supra note 101, art. 5.
122 Identity Card Law, supra note 102, art. 3.
123 Id. art. 4.
124 Id. art. 5.
125 Id. art. 2.
126 Marks, supra note 71, at 55.
128 See infra Part VI.A.1.
129 See infra Part VI.A.2.
130 See infra Part VI.A.3.
131 Marjoleine Zieck, UNHCR and Voluntary Repatriation of Refugees: A Legal Analysis 131-38 (1997).
132 Berman, supra note 112, at 870.
133 ZIECK, supra note 131, at 138.
134 Amnesty Int'l, supra note 96, at 37.
135 ZIECK, supra note 131, at 133.
136 Id. at 138.
137 Marks, supra note 71, at 78.
138 See Amnesty Int'l, supra note 96, at 37.
139 Sotheacheath Chea, Cambodian? The ID Issue, PHNOM PENH POST, Feb. 4, 2000, Full
Edition, at http://www.phnompenhpost.com.
141 See generally Controversial Cambodian Nationality Law to Go to Parliament,
DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR, Dec. 8, 1995, available at LEXIS, News Library,
Asia/Pacific Rim Archive.
142 Chea, supra note 139.
143 Ratner, supra note 106, at 14, 21, 25.
144 Id. at 13-19.
146 Id. at 235.
147 Chea, supra note 139.
148 See, e.g., Ros, supra note 117. A Cambodian politician expressed the fear that is
prevalent in Cambodia, "[t]here are many illegal immigrants from Vietnam and Thailand and
they hold fake identification papers which are given to them by corrupt Cambodian officials." Id.
149 See General Accounting Office, Cambodia-Limited Progress on Free Elections, Human
Rights, and Mine Clearing, Briefing Report to the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member,
Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, GAO/NSIAD 96-15BR,
Briefing Section II, Feb. 29, 1996 [hereinafter Limited Progress].
150 Electronic Interview with Ratha Panh, Cambodian attorney in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
(May 22, 2000) [hereinafter Ratha Panh].
151 Limited Progress, supra note 149.
152 Cambodian Police Nab 98 More Illegal Chinese Immigrants, AGENCE FRANCE
PRESSE, Oct. 18, 1999, available at LEXIS, News Library, Agence France Presse File; Marjorie
Miller, In Europe, Wave of Illegal Migration Has Deadly Cost, LOS ANGELES TIMES, July 15,
2000, at A1.
154 Cambodia Deports More than 60 Illegal Immigrant Chinese, JAPAN POL'Y & POL.,
Mar. 6, 2000, available at LEXIS, News Library, Asia/Pacific Rim Stories.
155 See supra notes 152 and 154.
156 Cambodia to Give Cash for Tip on Illegal Immigrants, ASIAN POLITICAL NEWS, Nov.
1, 1999, available at LEXIS, News Library, Asia/Pacific Rim Stories. Cambodia's police chief,
Hok Lundy, stated that "hundreds of illegal Chinese immigrants and an estimated
70,000-100,000 Vietnamese are living illegally in Cambodia." Id.
157 Ratha Panh, supra note 150.
158 Will Immigration Law Lead to Mass Expulsion?, INTER PRESS SERVICE, Oct. 19,
1994, available at 1994 WL 2722877.
159 Nottebohm, 1955 I.C.J. at 24.
161 WEIS, supra note 74, at 204. As a general rule, the choice of law in determining
nationality is the law of the State whose nationality is to be proved. Id.
162 Nou Hak, supra note 33.
163 Id. The above stated factors are also considered in the naturalization procedure in
Cambodia. See Nationality Law, supra note 101, art. 8
165 Amnesty Int'l, supra note 96, at 15-16.
171 Nou Hak, supra note 33.
172 Christensen, supra note 32.
173 Nou Hak, supra note 33.
174 Questionnaire on file with the author.
© 2001 Khmer Institute. All rights reserved.