CAPAC Hosts Forum on Rise of Southeast Asian Deportations

Nov 13, 2019 Issues: Immigration

WASHINGTON, DC –  Today, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) held a Congressional Forum on the Rise of Southeast Asian Deportations. The forum was led by CAPAC Chair Judy Chu (CA-27) and CAPAC Immigration Task Force Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and featured witness testimony from Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), Phi Nguyen, Litigation Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, Phal Sok, a Cambodian Refugee, and Tung Nguyen, a Vietnamese Refugee. The witnesses testified on the unprecedented increase in the detention and deportation of Southeast Asian Americans under the Trump Administration. Many of the impacted individuals came to the United States as refugees fleeing violence from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos and have lived in the U.S. for decades. CAPAC Chair Chu issued the following statement:

“The intentional cruelty of Donald Trump and Stephen Miller’s white supremacy-inspired war on immigrants isn’t just directed at the Southern Border. All non-white immigrants are threatened by this administration, including 16,000 individuals from Southeast Asia. But that pain and fear, while deeply felt in these impacted communities, are often not discussed by mainstream media despite the fact that Asian Americans are a sizeable immigrant population. That is why we hosted today’s hearing. We want to elevate this issue and urge the Trump administration to put an end to cruel detention and deportation of Southeast Asian American refugees and families.

“These are men and women with deep roots in their communities who have lived in the United States for decades as lawful permanent residents. Many have family, including U.S. citizen children and spouses, and are leaders within their communities. They have checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) dutifully over the years without any issue.  But under the Trump administration, they have become the targets of Donald Trump’s mass deportation force. In fact, between 2017 and 2018, there was a 279 percent spike in the deportation of Cambodian Americans. In that same time period, there was also a 58 percent increase in the deportation of Vietnamese Americans. What’s even more concerning, is that the Trump Administration has also placed visa sanctions on Laos and Cambodia to pressure those countries to accept more deportees. And under the Trump administration, there is also uncertainly over the current U.S.-Vietnam agreement that prevents Vietnamese Americans who arrived in the U.S. before 1995 from being deported.

“I am grateful to today’s witnesses for sharing their experiences and expertise. Together, we must work to end mass deportations and fix our broken immigration system.”

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.