Resident Aliens is an eye-opening account of three Cambodian-Americans—ex-cons—who were forced to return to their native country. In 2002, the US began deporting Cambodian immigrants who held criminal records in the United States; many of them had immigrated as infants or children following the Cambodian genocide. As a result, the deportees find themselves alone in an unknown country where they don’t speak the language and don’t know the culture; they must somehow find a way to survive with few skills and little money, burdened with the knowledge that they can never return to the US.
China and Looney have little support as they struggle to acclimatize to life in Cambodia, while KK, a breakdancer who had to leave his son behind in the US, seeks redemption and attempts to turn his life around. With only his skills as a dancer, KK takes on the role of teacher and caregiver to a group of local children. As an outsider to Cambodian society, he faces the challenge of building a secure home for the kids and for himself.
– Selena Lee