[Image Description: A smiling Vietnamese woman with light skin and medium brown hair swept to one side is standing on the right of the image. She is wearing a white collared shirt with sunglasses hanging on her collar. Behind her is a pattern of golden and mustard-colored leaves against a beige background. Bold green text above her reads: “Support Cam’s Legal Defense Fund.” Under the bold green text is black text that reads: “Cam Tran is a Vietnamese mother of 2 children, who first immigrated to the US in 2009. She was deported in 2019 for an act of self-defense against her abuser. Like over 90% incarcerated women, Cam is a survivor of domestic & sexual violence. To bring her home, we need to fundraise $10,000 by December 2021 to pay for her legal representation for post-conviction relief. Donate & share #BringCamHome!” At the bottom, smaller text reads: “GoFundMe: gofundme.com/f/CamLegalFund; Tax-Deductible Donation: donate.givedirect.org/?cid=14065” There is the VietUnity logo on the top right corner.]

Cam Trần is a Vietnamese mother of two young children, who first immigrated to the U.S. in 2009. She was deported in 2019 for an act of self-defense against her abuser. Like over 90% of incarcerated women, Cam is a survivor of domestic and sexual violence1 and, like many Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees, her deportation was an act of anti-Asian violence.

Cam has an opportunity to return home, but we need to fundraise $10,000 by December 2021 ($1250 each month) to pay for her legal representation for post-conviction relief. We hope your community support will bring her one step closer to reuniting with her children. To support Cam, you can make a one-time or recurring tax-deductible donation here (Write “for Cam” in the Comments).

Cam also has a GoFundMe campaign managed by VietUnity here.

Cam’s story

Content & trigger warnings: physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse; domestic violence; fetishization of Asian women; incarceration, detention, deportation, misogyny, PTSD

When Cam Trần arrived in Washington D.C. in 2009, she was immediately neglected by her newly-wed husband, a Vietnamese-American U.S. citizen, and his family. Her husband’s actions soon escalated into emotional and financial abuse, then to physical violence, including in the presence of their young son. Because she did not know English and was isolated with no connection to a community or support, she did not know how to reach out for help. 

She met her second husband during her first abusive marriage. Her second husband is a white U.S. citizen who is fluent in Vietnamese. When they first met, he was married to her first husband’s cousin. They frequently visited the house and were the only people that would check in with her. The couple divorced soon after meeting Cam, and the man who would become her second husband started checking in on her more and helped her talk to the police, file a restraining order, get divorced, and move away. Later on, he told her he loved her and she began to accept his love. 

Unfortunately, things were not as they seem. Her second husband became increasingly manipulative. He controlled their finances and physically abused both her and her son. After she gave birth to their daughter in 2015, he decided to relocate them to California. He started an affair with another Vietnamese woman, and when she tried to stop the relationship, he hit her and threatened to kick her and the children out.

When Cam’s father passed away, they went to Vietnam with the kids. Her husband did not spend time with the family and when Cam found out he had run off to yet another Vietnamese woman, he physically retaliated and told her he didn’t love her any more. Upon returning to the U.S., he utilized his privilege and knowledge of English and the law to make her life hell. He filed for divorce, custody of the children, and took all her finances away. When she did not comply, he would attack her.

During a domestic violence dispute in 2016, Cam acted out of self-defense. But, after calling 911, she was arrested and later charged with a felony. Unfortunately, the criminalization of survival is all too common in the prison-industrial complex—so much so that up to 94% of imprisoned women have a history of physical and sexual abuse prior to incarceration1.

After 6 months at the California Institution for Women, she was detained by ICE at the Adelanto Detention Facility for 2 years before she was deported to Vietnam in 2019. Even though Cam became a Legal Permanent Resident in 2012, her aggravated felony is a deportable offense according to severe immigration policies passed by Congress in 1996. These laws have increased mass incarceration and deportation of Southeast Asians and other refugee and immigrant communities2.

Currently, Cam suffers from PTSD and has limited family support. She built on the English she learned while incarcerated to obtain a teaching certificate. Cam is scraping by as an online tutor and subcontracted English teacher for young kids. Everyday, she dreams about being reunited with her own two children.

To support Cam, you can make a one-time or recurring tax-deductible donation here (Write “for Cam” in the Comments).

Cam also has a GoFundMe campaign managed by VietUnity here.

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