Trump to deport group of previously protected Vietnam refugees - Metro US

Trump to deport group of previously protected Vietnam refugees

President Trump plans to deport Vietnam War refugees who had previously been protected, The Atlantic reported Wednesday.

His administration’s new policy — originally scheduled to be effected in August — is that Vietnam refugees who came to the U.S. before official diplomatic relations were established between the two countries are now subject to deportation.

That invalidates a 2008 agreement reached by Vietnam and the George W. Bush administration, which bans the deportation of Vietnam refugees who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995 — the date that an official diplomatic relationship began. Many of those pre-1995 arrivals were refugees from the Vietnam War.

The Trump administration had decided in 2017 to exempt people who had been convicted of crimes from that agreement.

“We have 5,000 convicted criminal aliens from Vietnam with final orders of removal — these are non-citizens who during previous administrations were arrested, convicted, and ultimately ordered removed by a federal immigration judge. It’s a priority of this administration to remove criminal aliens to their home country,” a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told the Atlantic.

Trump has repeatedly sought to characterize immigrants as criminals, a stance that is unsupported by fact.

On Thursday, at least 22 members of Congress signed a letter saying they “strongly oppose” any change in the 2008 deal.

In the letter, they said that many Vietnam refugees to America “were resettled in struggling neighborhoods without support or resources to cope with significant trauma from the [Vietnam] war,” the Atlantic reported. “As a result, some made mistakes that funneled them into the criminal justice system.”

The lawmakers also say in the letter that “refugees have completed their time and are now positively contributing to their communities” and urged the Trump administration “to honor the humanitarian spirit and intention embodied in the current agreement.”

“It is cruel for the Trump administration to consider deporting pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants,” Christopher Lapinig, an attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Los Angeles, told Pacific Standard. “Many of these individuals are refugees who fled the Vietnam War. They’ve lived here for decades peacefully. This is another way that the administration is turning its back on immigrants and tearing apart families.”

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