Mazie Hirono and Kamala Harris Press Trump Admin on Vietnamese Deportations
Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) are urging Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to re-examine her Department’s “arbitrary detention and deportation” of many long-term U.S. residents from Southeast Asia, including those who fled war and genocide. Last year, the Trump administration began a wave of deportations that fell heavily on refugees who fled the upheaval surrounding the Vietnam War. Many being deported have few or no memories of Cambodia, as they were part of an exodus fleeing Khmer Rouge massacres and were granted refugee status in the U.S. Some actually have green cards and have been convicted of a felony while in the U.S., though often from many years ago. The president has continued to place harsh limits on immigration and asylum. Last year, there was an increase in deportations of Southeast Asian immigrants with more than 350 Laotian, Cambodian, and Vietnamese immigrants who were ordered to be deported -- violating a 2008 repatriation agreement between the two countries which provided legal protection for hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees who fled to the U.S. following the Vietnam War. “Those processed for deportation by the Trump administration’s recent, aggressive deportation efforts include legal permanent residents who have lived in the United States for decades after fleeing violence and genocide in their home countries,” the Senators wrote. “We urge you to reexamine policies on the arbitrary detention and deportation of Southeast Asian immigrants who prove no threat to public safety, are interwoven into our communities, and support United States citizen families.” Read the full letter here.