The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is preparing to deport thousands of Vietnamese immigrants who have been in the U.S. for more than two decades and are protected by a long-standing treaty.
Why it’s a problem: Many of the targeted Vietnamese immigrants, who are legal U.S. residents but not citizens, arrived in the United States before 1995, most likely as refugees of the Vietnam War, former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius explained to Reuters.
Because the refugees fled the communist government of Vietnam, to be sent back now would make them targets of the current government they do not support. “These people don’t really have a country to come back to,” Osius explained.
In the past: In 2008, the U.S. and Vietnam came to an agreement that Vietnamese citizens who entered the U.S. before July 12, 1995 are not subject to return to Vietnam.
- Osius resigned from his post in October 2017 in part because of the Trump administration’s push to send back Vietnamese immigrants. So far, only a “small number” of immigrants protected by the treaty have been sent back.
- As of December 2017, 8.600 Vietnamese nationals in the U.S. were deported. Of that number, 7,821 had criminal convictions, according to ICE spokesman Brendan Raedy.
- The White House has declined to comment on the deportations.