Immigrant rights advocates sent a chilling alert to Vietnamese residents in the U.S., warning them that they are now at a greater risk for deportation, especially with President Donald Trump’s planned visit to Vietnam where he may pressure the country to accept more deportees.
A joint community alert sent on Monday warned that “Vietnamese community members with final removal orders are vulnerable to potential arrest, detention, and deportation,” citing that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been using more aggressive tactics including threatening community members with self-deportation and forcing them to sign Vietnamese citizenship applications.
“Over [the] last several weeks, ICE has re-arrested individuals with final removal orders that they were unable to deport in the past.” the alert said.
“There is urgency now because [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] has ramped up their aggression against immigrant communities,” Dieu Huynh, a community outreach coordinator for San Jose, told Pacific Standard.
Vietnam initially refused to accept deportees from the U.S. over issues of overthrowing the ruling administration dating back to the Vietnam War. However, in 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Washington D.C. and Hanoi allowing Vietnamese who moved to the U.S. before 1995 to stay in the country. Part of the Trump administration’s strategy in renegotiating deals with foreign countries threatens the Memorandum, which was initially signed to reestablish relations between the two countries.
The full alert can be read in full below:
Joint community alert from:
VietLead, APIROC, Mekong-NYC, VietUnity-East Bay, VietUnity-South Bay, Dorchester Organizing Training-Initiative, SEARAC
At this time, we believe that Vietnamese community members with final removal orders are vulnerable to potential arrest, detention, and deportation. ICE has used more aggressive tactics such as threatening community members with self-deportation and forcing folks to sign Vietnamese citizenship applications. Over last several weeks, ICE has re-arrested individuals with final removal orders that they were unable to deport in the past.
We have learned that on on September 21, 2017, the United States submitted 95 cases to the Government of Vietnam for processing and at the end of October 2017 into November 2017, a Vietnamese delegation will arrive in the United States to conduct interviews in Georgia. We know these cases include both pre-1995 and post-1995 cases.
Please be aware:
- If you have a final removal order, do not leave the country. Seek immediate legal help if you have traveled outside of the country in the past (see pro bono legal list below).
- If you have loved ones who will soon be released from prison, or are currently in detention, seek legal support.
- If you are going for a check in, do not go alone – have family, friends, and local organizations accompany you.
If you have a final order of removal and ICE has notified you of a new check-in date, please contact Asian Law Caucus at (415) 896-1701, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles at (888) 349 9695 or in Vietnamese at (800) 267-7395. They can help you assess the risk that you may be detained and assist you in planning for that possibility.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
ICE is threatening all of our communities – but they are coming for the Southeast Asian community in ways we have not seen before. It’s time to join together and organize! Gather community members and prepare to tell your story. See SEARAC’s recent community alert on similar round ups happening in the Cambodian community for ideas on concrete things you can do in your own communities. Don’t let our stories go untold!
- We are more powerful together. Join an organization! Reach out for more information locally in your area, or give us a call: Northern California: VietUnity-PACT (408-858-1311); Southern California: APIROC; East Coast: Dorchester Organizing & Training Initiative; VietLead (267-713-9089); Mekong-NYC (347-918-9220)
- Call your Congressional leaders today (make sure to call both of your Senators and your Congressperson) to ask them to help stop deportation of our community members!
- Here is an online guide to help you know your rights during an ICE encounter.
- Read SEARAC’s Resource Guide for Southeast Asian Americans Facing Criminal Deportation
- For more pro-bono legal options, check out SEARAC’s directory of individuals and organizations with expertise in criminal deportation of Southeast Asian Americans.
- For more information on ICE raids and other Know Your Rights materials, click here.
Ty Tran, founder of the Facebook page Asians Never Die, spoke to NextShark about the troubling news:
“The Vietnamese community overseas has endured many obstacles and tragedies fleeing from their homeland to start a new life in a foreign country. Many left behind their family, friends, and their way of living to start over in a country they know nothing about. They have settled into their new home and contributed to a country that has welcomed them by starting families, opening businesses, and establishing themselves as community leaders. The deportation of these individuals are now threatening to tear families and communities apart. The fear and uncertainty these people tried so hard to escape from is now something they have to face again. Deportation not only affects the individuals but the lives of those who care and love them. Deportation is not the answer.”