Los Angeles County Denounces Deportation of Vietnam War Refugees

LOS ANGELES, CA- In 2008, President George W. Bush signed an agreement with Vietnam that bars the deportation of war refugees who arrived in the United States prior to July 12, 1995—the date the two countries re-established diplomatic relations. In the latest move to restrict U.S. immigration, the Trump Administration has reinterpreted that agreement in order to begin deporting certain Vietnamese immigrants. In response, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion, authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, denouncing the deportation of Vietnamese immigrants.

“Many of these refugees came to this country traumatized by the horrors of the Vietnam War. Many are children of parents who supported and fought alongside U. S. armed forces. They came to the United States to escape imprisonment and torture in their native country. Now, this Administration is telling these refugees that they must return to a country where they endured so much pain and loss, and where they no longer have a home. This is wrong,” said Supervisor Solis. “To potentially deport Vietnamese refugees strikes at the very soul of America.”

In the spring of 2017, the Trump Administration began shifting its position on the 2008 agreement by stating the pact does not protect from deportation Vietnamese immigrants who had been convicted of criminal offenses. Earlier this month, representatives from the U.S. and Vietnam met in Washington to discuss dissolving the 2008 pact. Nationally, over 8,000 Vietnamese war refugees with criminal records – some for minor offenses for which they served time – could face deportation proceedings.

“Los Angeles County has always supported its residents and will continue to support Vietnamese refugees. Vietnamese immigrants have contributed so much to our regional economy and our cultural tapestry,” added Supervisor Solis. “We must take action and do everything possible to stand with our neighbors and allies by opposing this ill-conceived shift in federal policy.”

Supervisor Solis’ motion directs that a 5-signature letter be sent to the Department of Homeland Security and congressional members to denounce the deportation of Vietnamese immigrants who had been previously protected under the 2008 agreement.

Today’s action marks the 33rd immigration motion Supervisor Solis has authored to protect, defend, and fight for the rights of immigrants since the 2016 presidential election. Her efforts include a motion to create sensitive locations throughout the County, a $3 million dollar contribution to the LA Justice Fund, and the creation of the first-ever County Office of Immigrant Affairs. To view a complete list of these actions, please click here.

Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Communications Director, 213-359-0795, or rsantana@bos.lacounty.gov