Share story

BOSTON (AP) — In a story May 28 about the stalled efforts to deport a U.S. refugee in Massachusetts, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the man was in jail. The man was released from jail May 25.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Refugee freed as US continues to seek country to take him

A U.S. refugee and convicted felon sitting in jail as federal immigration officials tried to find a country that would take him has been released, pending the resolution of the deportation issue

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

BOSTON (AP) — A U.S. refugee and convicted felon sitting in jail as federal immigration officials tried to find a country that would take him has been released, pending the resolution of the deportation issue.

A federal judge in Boston ordered Sreynuon Lunn, 32, released from the Suffolk County jail Thursday and placed under electronic monitoring, U.S. District Court records show.

The Department of Homeland Security has designated Cambodia as Lunn’s country of origin but Cambodia has denied Lunn is a citizen.

Lunn was jailed in October on unarmed robbery charges but continued to be held even after the charges were ultimately dismissed. Lunn has a felony conviction from a prior case, and a judge ordered him held on a so-called Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.

Lunn was born in a Thai refugee camp to Cambodian parents fleeing the Khmer Rouge and brought to the United States as a 7-month-old child. He was legally allowed into the country as a refugee and given lawful permanent resident status.

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts petitioned the federal court May 22 for Lunn’s release. They said Cambodian officials have denied Lunn is a Cambodian citizen for nine years and have refused to issue him travel papers. Thai officials also have said they don’t consider Lunn a citizen of Thailand.

“If the government cannot deport Mr. Lunn, it has to let him go,” Matthew Segal, legal director at the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in asking that Lunn be released from jail.

Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman with Homeland Security, declined to comment while the issue is pending before the courts.

It’s not the first time the government has attempted to deport Lunn, who has raised two children born in the United States. Immigration officials first tried in 2009 after he was convicted of an aggravated felony.

Lunn’s lawyers said he contacted the Cambodian Embassy in Washington, D.C., multiple times, but embassy personnel told him that they were unwilling to issue the necessary travel documents because Lunn was not a Cambodian citizen.

Homeland Security officials ultimately released him.

The pattern would be repeated two more times, according to court records.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, last year allowed the state police to temporarily detain some people wanted by federal immigration authorities, reversing a previous policy put in place during the administration of former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.