Vietnam

Why Is the Trump Administration Trying to Deport Thousands of Vietnamese Immigrants?

The administration is trying to reinterpret a 2008 agreement with the Vietnamese government.

|

Abaca Press/Douliery Olivier/Abaca/Sipa USA/Newscom

In the years following the Vietnam War, thousands of refugees fled the North Vietnamese regime for the United States. Now, many of those immigrants could face possible deportation back to Vietnam.

In 1995, the United States reestablished official diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Then, in 2008, former President George W. Bush reached a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Vietnamese government that protected refugees who came to the U.S. before 1995 from being deported.

The Trump administration has been trying to reinterpret that MOU for a while. In March 2017, the administration claimed the agreement does not cover non-citizen Vietnamese immigrants who have been convicted of a crime, according to Business Insider. The administration started rounding up these immigrants, but there was significant pushback from the Vietnamese government as well as immigration activists in the U.S. The administration ceased its campaign in August, by which point only about a dozen immigrants had been deported, The New York Times reported last month.

But it appears the administration is trying again. James Thrower, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Hanoi, confirmed as much to The Atlantic. "The United States and Vietnam signed a bilateral agreement on removals in 2008 that establishes procedures for deporting Vietnamese citizens who arrived in the United States after July 12, 1995, and are subject to final orders of removal," he told the magazine. "While the procedures associated with this specific agreement do not apply to Vietnamese citizens who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995, it does not explicitly preclude the removal of pre-1995 cases."

Separately, a State Department spokesperson suggested to The Hill that if the administration wants to deport the immigrants in question, it can. "While the procedures associated with this specific agreement do not apply to Vietnamese citizens who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995, it does not explicitly preclude the removal of pre-1995 cases," the spokesperson explained.

The State Department also confirmed to multiple outlets that the Department of Homeland Security has met with representatives from Vietnam's U.S. embassy. "The U.S. Government and the Vietnamese Government continue to discuss our respective positions relative to Vietnamese citizens who are now subject to final orders of removal," a State Department spokesperson told HuffPost.

So what does it all mean? According to Katrina Dizon Mariategue, director of national policy at the nonprofit Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), 8,600 Vietnamese immigrants who have final orders of removal could be at risk of deportation. "We're already receiving emails from individuals expressing their concern about these meetings and how their families will be separated because of it," Mariategue told HuffPost.

Even if they were convicted of a crime, many of the immigrants in question have already served their time. "Many of these cases—they only committed one crime and that was decades ago," Tania Pham, an attorney for some of the immigrants, told the Pacific Standard. "They have been rehabilitated. These are examples that the prison system did work for them. They proved themselves that they were able to function after release from prison."

It's worth noting that the Trump administration might have a hard time deporting so many immigrants. The Vietnamese government hasn't exactly been amenable to the idea of accepting the refugees back. Without their cooperation, those thousands of deportations won't happen. However, that could change if the two countries decide to renegotiate the agreement, which is up for renewal in January.

Advertisement

NEXT: Have Republicans Been Engaging in "Asymmetric Constitutional Hardball"?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So, these are Vietnamese nationals convicted of crimes in the U. S.?

    The headline, or at least the subhead, should mention that we’re talking about convicted criminals. But it took a few paragraphs before this point was established.

    That reminds me of those articles about the dumb Trump-voting Iraqi Christians who were facing massive deportations in their community, and only when you read down the articles far enough was it clear that these cases involved convicted criminals.

    I happen to believe that governors and Presidents should be more willing to pardon rehabilitated criminals with clean records, and that if they do so, the immigration system should respect such pardons.

    But let’s not bury the lede, let’s make clear that it’s a criminal-justice story – maybe a story of excessive punishment, but still a criminal-justice story.

    And as with the Iraqi Christians, apparently we’re dealing with people who would have been deported many years ago if the situation wasn’t so chaotic in the home country. Meanwhile, convicts from other countries – more stable countries – have been getting deported for the same sorts of crimes.

    1. Also – silly question – was this Memorandum of Understanding with Vietnam ratified by the U. S. Senate by a 2/3 vote?

      1. You mean the agreement about accepting refugees from Vietnam with the clause on the back written in invisible ink that says “Unless they’re convicted of a crime in which case all bets are off”? You know there’s a similar clause on the back of the Constitution – better hope you’re never convicted of a crime because then all that crap about due process and cruel and unusual punishment and the quartering of troops and so on doesn’t apply to you.

        1. Invisible ink or not, did the Senate ratify it, or is this another case where the President can avoid Senate action by calling a treaty something else?

          1. It’s not a treaty because it’s not a treaty. The Senate passed a resolution calling on Clinton to lift the trade embargo on Vietnam that had been in place since the end of the war and from there it’s been a long slog to normalize relations with Vietnam. This is all part of re-establishing diplomatic relations, which is within the President’s purview. Not everything’s a treaty requiring Senate approval – note that this agreement itself is up for renewal and under the terms of the agreement Trump can withdraw from it if he wants with 6 months notice. (Which I believe is the same terms as NAFTA.) But there is such a thing as due process – once Bush signed an agreement to accept these refugees, Trump can’t just retroactively cancel the agreement or unilaterally change the terms of the agreement.

            I might also add that a major complication to the deal is that a lot of these refugees were South Vietnamese refugees, which country no longer exists. The reason the UN established the Orderly Departure Program which the US agreed to abide by was because these people were in danger of being targeted by the North Vietnamese, henceforth known as just plain old “Vietnamese”. If you’re supporting the losing side in a civil war, it might seem a little bit churlish to tell your fleeing allies to get the hell back to their own country.

            1. Of course, being sent to Vietnam from the U. S. is a severe punishment, which should be reserved only for the worst or unrepentant offenders. In the case of rehabilitated criminals, like I said, a liberal pardon policy should be in order.

              “This is all part of re-establishing diplomatic relations, which is within the President’s purview. Not everything’s a treaty requiring Senate approval”

              I’m sure this is the conventional wisdom, but the conventional wisdom allows a lot of things which it’s difficult to square with the actual Constitution.

              Certainly I’d think that in order to supersede a constitutionally-valid statute (assuming the immigration statutes are constitutional), you’d need a treaty, and for that you’d need the Senate.

              1. “Of course, being sent to Vietnam from the U. S. is a severe punishment,”

                That’s not the half of it. Most of these people, or their parents, or somebody in their family helped the US when we were involved in a hot war for the better part of a decade. Their contemporaries who helped us but were not able to escape post-war Vietnam got to spend 10-20 years in a “re-education” camp. You can assume that something similar is going to happen to these folks if we send them back.

                As a matter of basic fairness, and if you want local help in the same situation going forward, you need to be damn careful about how you treat these people. Especially since, as a group, they’ve assimilated and busted their butts to succeed and have contributed positively to American society. At this point, looking for an excuse to send them back, especially knowing what awaits them when they get there, is totally shitty. And we’ve got nothing to gain from it, except for Trump getting to act like he’s tough on immigration to make his base happy. That’s a bullshit reason to fuck over a bunch of people who were our allies in a situation in which being an ally to America was massively dangerous.

                1. bevis the lumberjack|12.14.18 @ 12:19AM|#
                  “Of course, being sent to Vietnam from the U. S. is a severe punishment,”
                  —-
                  That’s not the half of it. Most of these people, or their parents, or somebody in their family helped the US when we were involved in a hot war for the better part of a decade. Their contemporaries who helped us but were not able to escape post-war Vietnam got to spend 10-20 years in a “re-education” camp. You can assume that something similar is going to happen to these folks if we send them back.”
                  Not true. My barber is a Vietnamese who ended up here sometime in the ’90s. She (and her family) are as anti-commie as I am, but they are able to travel back and forth with no difficultly. I’d guess she wants to spit in the face of the commie bureaucrats the same way I want to do the same to the TSA agents, but…

                  “As a matter of basic fairness, and if you want local help in the same situation going forward, you need to be damn careful about how you treat these people.”
                  She and the other Viets I’ve encountered have been more that ‘ambitious’ in starting and running businesses. Nothing in the article says anything about hustling them out.

                  1. I think this article is just more anti Trump bullshit because he’s a big meanie who won’t opem the borders and wants to build that wall.

                    1. It’s a Joe Setyon article, so we’re dealing with 12% fact, 28% shit he read in a Vox Explainer column, 60% Joe-level “truth”.

                  2. They helped us? In our war? I think it was the other way around.

                2. “Especially since, as a group, they’ve assimilated and busted their butts to succeed and have contributed positively to American society.”

                  Then there’s people like this guy in the Pacific Standard article:

                  “Tung Nguyen was born in Vietnam and convicted of fatal robbery when he was 16 years old.”

                  The article suggests he’s rehabilitated, and steering other youth away from a life of crime, and if so Governor Moonbeam can pardon him.

                  “looking for an excuse to send them back”

                  If they were from Sweden or Malaysia, they’d probably have been sent back already for their crimes. They got cut a break because of the special situation in Vietnam, not because their crimes were less severe than the crimes of others who got deported.

                  1. Anyway, it may be a moot point if Vietnam doesn’t want to take them – how can we force them?

                    1. We send them into Vietnam via visitor visas and then revoke their passports.

                      Theyre stuck in vietnam.

                    2. That sounds like ringing Vietnam’s doorbell and running away. I don’t know how feasible that would be.

                    3. Better than ringing vietnams doorbell and blowing the entire neighborhood up.

                    4. And wasting 58,000+ American lives doing so.

            2. Jerrykids does not seem to understand that the Constitution only recognizes treaties as demands that America must follow relating to foreign interactions.

  2. Then, in 2008, former President George W. Bush reached a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Vietnamese government that protected refugees who came to the U.S. before 1995 from being deported.

    So we’re taking Bush’s side on immigration policy that he may not have even lifted a pen or a phone to enact? That’s how far around the bend Reason has come? Imperial Presidency for the motherfucking win.

    1. Pretty soon, we’ll have to observe whatever the President whispers in a foreign dignitary’s ear as policy.

      1. I was kind of hoping that link would be to this.

  3. Nguyen Confucius say: “Man who go to bed with itchy butt wake up with smell of victory in morning.”

  4. Why Is the Trump Administration Trying to Deport Thousands of Vietnamese Immigrants?

    Because fuck them, that’s why?

    Actually it probably has something to do with the 2008 agreement being up for renewal:

    It’s worth noting that the Trump administration might have a hard time deporting so many immigrants. The Vietnamese government hasn’t exactly been amenable to the idea of accepting the refugees back. Without their cooperation, those thousands of deportations won’t happen. However, that could change if the two countries decide to renegotiate the agreement, which is up for renewal in January.

    1. Trump believes the best way to start off a negotiation is to kick your negotiating partner in the balls so he knows right up front you’re a tough negotiator. And remember what he once said about if the person you’re negotiating with leaves happy with the deal you’ve made it means you left something on the table and that’s a bad deal. The Great Negotiator doesn’t believe in win/win propositions, he sees deal-making as a zero-sum game. Trump sees negotiating as fucking over your enemy before your enemy has a chance to fuck you over and everybody’s the enemy. You might want to wonder about what sort of miserable bastard operates with a persecution complex that lets him believe he’s perfectly justified in fucking people over because he just knows everybody’s out to fuck him over, and where he got that idea from.

      1. Spot on, I wonder if anyone has ever done business with him more than once.

        1. Lots of people. But around here a lot of the commentariat really likes to say the stupideast shit about him because his tweets are rude and he isn’t an open borders nutcase.

        2. Contractors continued to do business with Trump.

          Either the contractors are lying or the media. I wonder who?

      2. You show how Trump sees himself. Now lets see how this grandiose “toughness” works in practice :

        (1) After fierce negotiations with the Saudis, the kingdom agrees to purchase zillions in military hardware. Trump is still exultant months later, as he cleans-up the Saudi’s bloody reeking garbage like some handyman. Occasionally he’s told the promises resulted in nothing, but quickly forgets.

        (2) Trump shows who’s boss, stewing chaos in his wake at a NATO summit meeting. But it was worth it, he says smugly, pointing to commitments from the so-called allies on increased military spending. Those numbers are unchanged from the Obama Era; no one bothers to tell him.

        (3) Trump goes toe-to-toe with Little Rocket Man and months of manly & resolute tweets pay off. He strides away from the meeting to announce a glorious new era : North Korea agreed to give up all their nuclear weapons! Trump beams with pride; he barely had to make any concessions for this promise. Meanwhile, Kim Jong-un is laughing.

        (4) Chinese President Xi Jinping finally meets his match, facing the steely-eyed stare of America’s Number-One Negotiator. Of course Trump threw the Chinese leader a bone or two – canceling tariffs – but that was while he was trying to remember all the promises in return. It all got a little hazy later at the celebratory press conference later – did China agree to buy more soybeans or not? Trump seeks to re-confirm the details with Xi Jinping, but he is strangely unresponsive…….

        1. “(1) After fierce negotiations with the Saudis, the kingdom agrees to purchase zillions in military hardware. Trump is still exultant months later, as he cleans-up the Saudi’s bloody reeking garbage like some handyman. Occasionally he’s told the promises resulted in nothing, but quickly forgets.”
          Claiming facts not in evidence.

          “(2) Trump shows who’s boss, stewing chaos in his wake at a NATO summit meeting. But it was worth it, he says smugly, pointing to commitments from the so-called allies on increased military spending. Those numbers are unchanged from the Obama Era; no one bothers to tell him.”
          Strangely enough, even that right-wing CNBC sourcehas to admit some have increased spending:
          “As of June 2017, only six nations met NATO spending standards: the U.S., Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Poland and Romania.”
          https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/03/
          nato-spending-2017.html

          1. “(3) Trump goes toe-to-toe with Little Rocket Man and months of manly & resolute tweets pay off. He strides away from the meeting to announce a glorious new era : North Korea agreed to give up all their nuclear weapons! Trump beams with pride; he barely had to make any concessions for this promise. Meanwhile, Kim Jong-un is laughing.”
            Laughing and no longer tossing missiles. Are you just lying for the heck of it, or are you some fucking lefty ignoramus?

            “(4) Chinese President Xi Jinping finally meets his match, facing the steely-eyed stare of America’s Number-One Negotiator. Of course Trump threw the Chinese leader a bone or two – canceling tariffs – but that was while he was trying to remember all the promises in return. It all got a little hazy later at the celebratory press conference later – did China agree to buy more soybeans or not? Trump seeks to re-confirm the details with Xi Jinping, but he is strangely unresponsive…….”
            And our newest lefty ignoramus is full of innuendo and shit.
            Are you new here, or just a sock of one of the long lines of lefty ignoramuses?

      3. You can frame Trumps negotiatipn style however you want but the reality is very different.

        Relating to trade policy, every major trading partner caved to negotiate with Trump within 6 months.

    2. “Why is Trump .. Deporting”
      China is stealing intellectual property right and left. A still mostly Communist country wants students and workers to come here. They, not Trump, think the Chinese nationals are still loyal to their country China. Much of China’s advancement comes from them either directly from spying or from when they return to China. Again US companies love employees that can speak the language so they tend to move them back to China to work for them. Vietnam is still a Communist country who just wants us for the money and trade we buy. To think everybody who comes here from Vietnam is a loyal “American” is idiotic. Opening your house to help the needy is fine but sorta idiotic if their main priority is to steal from you. There are plenty of other people who want to immigrate here that do not want to steal from us.

  5. So its only Vietnamese immigrants who came after 1995, so they most likely were not among those who escaped when the war ended as many others have portrayed them. this seems like another none issue created by someone before Trump and really just being played out for theater before the agreement renewal. but hey we get to trash Trump

    1. Orange man bad.

      1. Its the Democratic Party platform at this point.

    2. No, “its only Vietnamese immigrants who came after 1995” is what the deal used to mean, Trump’s trying to “re-interpret” the agreement so it doesn’t cover people convicted of a crime and the basis of this is that ” it does not explicitly preclude the removal of pre-1995 cases.”

      1. To be fair the argument is this. Let’s say you supply me with widgets. We write up a contract that says “This is the return process for all widgets made after 1995”. We agree and sign.

        That agreement doesn’t mean I am not allowed to return widgets made after 1995. That is what the administration is saying- the MOU set forward procedures for post 1995 immigrants, but didn’t say one way or the other what to do with people pre 1995.

    3. These are the North Vietnamese that fought for Communism.

      Let them enjoy the fruits of their labor.

    4. Nobody here knows the loyalty of the Vietnamese people who come here from the Communist country. They may be fine, they may be patriots to Vietnam. China does use it’s citizens to come here for university and information from our various companies and military.

      There are plenty of people who want to come to America we really should not give away our technology to countries that fundamentally hate our form of government and probably us as well.

  6. “In March 2017, the administration claimed the agreement does not cover non-citizen Vietnamese immigrants who have been convicted of a crime…”

    My inside sources tell me that YUUUUUGELY BIGGLY numbers of non-citizen Vietnamese immigrants have been flatently and flatulently and blatantly dissrespecting American Government Almighty laws, and… STEEL yourselves now for this horrendous concept… BLOWING ON A CHEAP PLASTIC FLUTE, w/o the blessings of American Government Almighty and the Laws of the Land!!!

    Accordingly, I must now perform my pubic duties!!! Forthwith!!! Onward, Comrades!!! Onwards and Upwards!!!

    To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ ? This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

  7. The Vietnamese government hasn’t exactly been amenable to the idea of accepting the refugees back.

    Huh.

    1. Doesn’t the Party still need block captains, commissars, etc., or are those jobs taken or abolished?

      1. The Vietnamese Communist Party needs flunkies, yes… HOWEVER, even THEY can NOT countenance the idea of Trumptardistic authoritarians who have not ONE single neuron dedicated to free will and common sense!!!

        Accordingly, all Vietnamese ex-patriots and vaguely Vietnamese humanoids who’ve spent significant time breathing the atmosphere exhaled by Trump, are NOT welcome on their shores! And… Can you blame them?!?!?

    2. They sound racist.

      What other explanation could there be?

      1. America is super racist except for the millions of nonAmericans allowed into the USA every year.

        That and Americans have no defined race. What race are Americans? White, black, hispanic….

  8. The problem is the Vietnamese. Thank goodness we are focusing on this.

  9. “America can never import enough criminals”
    #AmericaLast

  10. Why Is the Trump Administration Trying to Deport Thousands of Vietnamese Immigrants?

    To feed his base. They’re hungry.

    1. You really need to deal with reality.

  11. Why did he do it. For the same reason a dog licks his balls.

  12. “Why Is the Trump Administration Trying to Deport Thousands of Vietnamese Immigrants?”

    Because when all else remains equal decreasing the labor supply increases wages. Is reason really so fucking economically illiterate that the believe progressive neoliberal bullshit that immigration doesn’t decrease american wages?

    1. Decrease the labor supply and watch what happens.

      Or just give everyone a 100k raise.

      Wages are just how many pukka shells do I need to give you for a new fishing boat. Then how many will you give me for a tuna. That might change depending on supply of boat builders and the tuna who do not follow the rules.

      You had it right “when all else remains equal” but it does not.

      Free markets is based on movement of goods, services and people. Change one variable and the others will change.

      I cannot argue for open borders given what exists except as an ideal. I can argue for efficient, clean better ways for people to move from one place to another to pursue economic opportunity.

      1. Low skilled laborers don’t create enough demand to replace the jobs they take, ya fucking moron. And because this is a welfare state, I have to pick up the slack for the unemployed and underemployed. If importing poor people was an economic panacea you dumbasses proclaim, the worlds streets would be paved with gold.

  13. “Why Is the Trump Administration Trying to Deport Thousands of Vietnamese Immigrants?”

    Because half of them are serving officers in the VC, and the other half has TB….

  14. Send the Commies back to the country they fought for.

    A COMMUNIST VIETNAM!

    1. You were in the Navy, right?

      And a farmer with a corn crop.

      So those two things put together make a position. At the end of the day work output wins. Corn can win a war.

      Look communism was not defeated on the conventional battlefield. You know that. It was defeated because nobody wanted Bulgarian shoes as PJ O’ put it, they could not make stuff people wanted to buy.

      Vietnam is communist in theory but they are open for business.

      1. I dont grow enough corn to make a difference.

        Economic warfare is one way to defeat communism.

        The other is to deport all the communist fuckers trying to undermine the US Constitution and out-trade the zips in vietnam.

      2. Further to that point, china has absorbed Nixons strategy to trade the communism out of the chinese.

        Maybe a multi-millillenia civilization wont be toppled by the USA. Maybe their people are so used to being slaves that they make it work….forever.

        I wanna believe that free market conquers all but china has enslaved its populous for thousands of years. And they have never fought for absolute freedom.

      3. Further to that point, china has absorbed Nixons strategy to trade the communism out of the chinese.

        Maybe a multi-millillenia civilization wont be toppled by the USA. Maybe their people are so used to being slaves that they make it work….forever.

        I wanna believe that free market conquers all but china has enslaved its populous for thousands of years. And they have never fought for absolute freedom.

        1. You want to liberate China?

          Create a better alternative.

          One row of corn at a time.

    2. “Send the Commies back to the country they fought for.
      A COMMUNIST VIETNAM!”

      Yeah, the people that fled their country after its civil war was won by the communists are themselves communists. They were just confused.

  15. Students cannot take chances with their law coursework writing. Even a single failure can put their entire academic future at risk. That is why you should be very careful about who you get to compose your essays for you. Always solicit samples of their essay writer UK’s work beforehand and see what other students have to say about their experiences with them. Additionally, check if they have a limitless revision policy so that you can get any alterations that you deem necessary. We at Law Essay Teacher UK have all of these amenities, and more! So order today, and get a special first-time bonus.

    1. Um, fraud much?

  16. “Why Is the Trump Administration Trying to Deport Thousands of Vietnamese Immigrants?”

    ” In March 2017, the administration claimed the agreement does not cover non-citizen Vietnamese immigrants who have been convicted of a crime,”

    Answered your own question by the third paragraph, and you didn’t even notice!

    Anyway, “memorandum of understanding” is diplomateese for “This isn’t a treaty”.

  17. If you, are in the US legally, refugee or otherwise and wish to have perpetual residency, then assimilation and citizenship must be your aim. If anyone rejects assimilation, and citizenship….I don’t see them as other than a threat to our way of life. That goes double for those here illegally, whether guilty of jaywalking or murder!!

  18. essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .

    http://www.Mesalary.com

  19. Require a professional essay writing help? Well then don’t wait any longer, get in touch with the best in the business, Dissertation Writers UK and be guaranteed of the value of quality and time which ensures you a trouble free delivery with no unnecessary pains taken, therefore cementing a working relationship for a lifetime.

  20. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you……
    http://www.geosalary.com

  21. Want someone to whom you can request to do my essay? You must give Law Coursework Writing a try. They are not typical service who refrain from providing revisions and charge too much but instead, they are always up to entertain every order’ revision coming their way.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.