(Pacific Standard, Nov 2,2017): Immigrant rights advocates warn that thousands of American residents of Vietnamese origin are at heightened risk of deportation, particularly as President Donald Trump prepares for a diplomatic visit to Vietnam, where he could pressure authorities—as he has done already in Southeast Asia and Africa—to take in more deportees.
A joint community alert issued Monday by a group of Southeast Asian-American community-rights organizations warned that Vietnamese immigrants with final removal orders are, more than before, “vulnerable to potential arrest, detention, and deportation.” Late last month, the notice said, Washington submitted 95 cases to Hanoi to be processed.
The alert, coupled with reports of rampant detentions of Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian-American communities is cause for worry for those who fear seeing their communities become yet another flashpoint in the administration’s anti-immigration policy.
“There is urgency now because [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] has ramped up their aggression against immigrant communities,” says Dieu Huynh, a community outreach coordinator for San Jose Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco and an organizer with the grassroots group VietUnity-PACT.
Historically, Hanoi refused to accept deportees from the United States, largely owing to Washington’s attempt during the Vietnam War to overthrow the country’s ruling administration. So those deportees’ cases remained in limbo until January of 2008, when Washington signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hanoi allowing U.S. residents who arrived before July 12th, 1995—the date the two countries restored diplomatic relations—as well as those without criminal convictions to remain in the U.S. The agreement also laid the foundations for Hanoi to accept the deportations of those who did not fall in those categories.