Sacramento – Today, the State Assembly voted 68-0 in favor of a resolution, authored by Assemblymember Tom Daly (D – Anaheim), calling on the Trump Administration to refrain from changing the terms of an agreement protecting Vietnamese immigrants from being deported back to Vietnam.
A 2008 agreement between the United States government and the government of Vietnam specifically bars the deportation of Vietnamese people who arrived in the U.S. prior to July 12, 1995. However, Trump Administration officials announced late last year that they intend to pursue a change in policy in order to deport thousands of immigrants back to Vietnam. Since many Vietnamese refugees fought alongside the U.S. during the war in Vietnam, deportation could place refugees at risk of persecution.
Daly’s Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 1, which is jointly authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D – San Jose), urges President Trump to “stop any efforts to reinterpret, disregard, or in any way prohibit the extension of the 2008 United States-Vietnam repatriation agreement.” The measure further “urges that any renegotiation of the agreement include historically accepted deportation protections for Vietnamese refugees” and states that the Legislature stands in solidarity with the refugees.
“AJR 1 respectfully urges the Federal Government to refrain from reinterpreting the agreement in order to dramatically increase the number of Vietnamese immigrants deported back to Vietnam,” Assemblymember Daly said. “Increased deportations would not only go against the spirit of the 2008 agreement, but they could also tear apart families who have, for decades, called the U.S. their home.”
“I am proud to be a joint author of AJR 1 and condemn our Federal Government’s campaign of deportation,” Assemblymember Kalra said. “My district in San Jose is home to the largest population of Vietnamese people in a city outside of Vietnam, and many of these immigrants are among those forced to leave their homes over 40 years ago to escape a war and rebuild their lives here in this country. The clear disregard of the United States-Vietnam repatriation agreement would be a betrayal of our country’s commitment to these communities and only further undermines the integrity and sanctity of our country’s diplomatic agreements.”
California is home to more than 500,000 Vietnamese immigrants. Many arrived after the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, which marked the beginning of an exodus of over one million Vietnamese, who left their homeland for the U.S. after fleeing communism in search of freedom and democracy.
AJR 1 notes that as new immigrants, “Vietnamese Americans overcame social, linguistic, and economic challenges through hard work, achieving success in a plethora of professional fields, including business, military service, politics and law, science and education, literature and journalism, and sports and entertainment.”
State Senator Thomas Umberg (D – Santa Ana) and Assemblymember Tyler Diep (R – Huntington Beach) are principal co-authors of AJR 1.
"I am pleased to see this resolution receive overwhelming bipartisan support in the Assembly," Senator Umberg said. "I am confident that my colleagues in the Senate will agree with me — California must respect and protect refugees from Southeast Asia who came to this great nation to seek a better life."
“While I recognize national security comes first, I support this resolution because Vietnam War refugees will be blacklisted and denied basic human rights, if they are sent back to Vietnam,” Assemblymember Diep said. “Vietnamese refugees have paid their price to society and remade their lives as productive members of the community. We respectfully ask the President to honor the 2008 United States-Vietnam repatriation agreement.”
AJR 1 is co-authored by several other legislators, including Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D – Costa Mesa).
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Assemblymember Tom Daly represents California’s 69th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove, and Orange.