Sacramento- Assemblymember Tom Daly (D – Anaheim) and Senator Tom Umberg (D – Santa Ana) introduced a resolution calling on President Donald Trump to stop any effort to reinterpret or renegotiate the 2008 U.S.-Vietnam repatriation agreement, actions which could dramatically increase the numbers of Vietnamese-Americans deported back to Vietnam.
The 2008 agreement between the two nations prohibits the deportation of Vietnamese people who arrived in the U.S. prior to July 12, 1995, which was the date the countries reestablished diplomatic relations.
The Trump Administration reinterpreted the agreement in 2017 in order to deport some Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the U.S. prior to 1995, but abandoned that change in policy not long after. Earlier this week, the Administration signaled it planned to resume deportations.
The resolution introduced by the two Orange County state legislators, Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 1, notes that California is home to more than 500,000 Vietnamese-Americans who “enrich the social, cultural and economic fabric of our state.”
Many Vietnamese-Americans living in California arrived in the U.S. after the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, marking the beginning of an exodus of over one million Vietnamese who left their homeland fleeing communism in search of freedom and democracy.
AJR 1 states 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, politics and law, science and education, literature and journalism, and sports and entertainment.”
The resolution also notes that, “Refusing to forget their historical struggle for freedom and democracy, Vietnamese Americans throughout the United States and the State of California continue to speak out against the systematic assaults on the freedoms of expression and religion perpetrated today by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and advocate in favor of human rights and democracy in Vietnam and worldwide.”
Daly and Umberg have expressed concern that the Trump Administration’s change of policy will subject refugees of the Vietnamese war to deportation.
“These immigrants include people I have come to know and respect,” Daly said. “Many were allies of the U.S. and fought alongside our soldiers in the war against communists in Vietnam. Based on the Administration’s past actions, I am concerned that this aggressive policy will result in innocent victims-including some of those very same allies-being deported to Vietnam, where they will likely be treated harshly.”
“I am deeply concerned about the Administration's efforts to reinterpret and renegotiate the 2008 U.S.-Vietnam repatriation agreement,” Umberg said. “I am especially concerned about potential revisions that would break the promise we made to thousands of refugees who came to our country before 1995. Many of the survivors of the communist atrocities and their families now live in my Senate District and their personal safety could be at risk if they are forced to return. We are committed to doing everything we can to protect those who sought to live the American dream.”
CONTACT: David W. Miller (916) 319-2069