Mekong NYC Demands Justice for the Deported and Detained, Reported by Huffington Post

Posted on November 9, 2017

95 Vietnamese, Mostly Refugees, Could Face Detention And Deportation From U.S.

Originally Posted by Huffington Post on November 8, 2017
Written By Kimberly Yam

“Deportations are a life sentence for our folks,” Chhaya Chhoum, executive director of Mekong NYC, who has spoken to families of the detained, told HuffPost. An estimated 95 Vietnamese U.S. residents are expected to be detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and could face deportation. The majority of those are refugees. The agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam currently puts restrictions on nationals who can be deported. Previously, Vietnam did not accept any deportees in part because of America’s role in attempting to overthrow the Vietnamese administration during the Vietnam War. But in 2008, the U.S. and Vietnam signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that made it possible for Vietnamese nationals who arrived in the U.S. on or after July 12, 1995, and had orders of removal, to be deported to Vietnam. The MOU has not been renegotiated or changed since then, yet recent detentions include Vietnamese people who arrived in the U.S. before 1995. More than 8,500 Vietnamese U.S. residents have orders of removal for various reasons, and experts are concerned these detentions will set a dangerous precedent and put thousands of lives in jeopardy. Nguyen, whose organization has connected with many of those detained, told HuffPost she worries the incident could be related to President Donald Trump’s trip to Asia, during which he plans to stop in Vietnam. After all, the Trump administration has discussed the subject of repatriations with the Vietnamese government a number of times in the past. “One of the things his administration has been pushing is for Vietnam to accept people beyond the written agreement,” Nguyen told HuffPost. “My fear is that Vietnam is capitulating because Trump is showing up at their doorstep.” Currently, several Vietnamese and Southeast Asian grassroots groups, including Vietlead, Mekong NYC and SEARAC, are organizing to respond to detentions and provide support for those most impacted as tensions continue to rise in the refugee community.

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