A day after proving himself to be hopelessly obsessed with harsh and unnecessary immigration measures, President Trump is amping up his xenophobic policies by deporting Vietnam War refugees.
The Atlantic reported that the Trump administration is in the process of starting to deport certain protected Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in the United States for decades after presumably fleeing their then war-torn country. Last year, the president flouted a 2008 agreement with Hanoi that specifically bars the deportation of Vietnamese who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995 — the date the two former foes re-established diplomatic relations following the Vietnam War. As is often the case with this virulently anti-immigrant president, Trump claims he wanted to punish countries that allow “violent criminal aliens” into the United States.
A spokesman for the US Embassy in Hanoi addressed the measure.
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, the spokesperson said. 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 issue revolves around pre-1995 arrivals, many of whom were the children of those who once allied with American and South Vietnamese forces. Despite the fact that the agreement was signed into law by President Bush and received support by President Obama, Trump has decided to derail the longstanding agreement. In fact, Ted Osius, who served as the United States ambassador to Vietnam from December 2014 through October 2018, says that Trump is creating a whole new reading of the law.
We understood that the agreement barred the deportation of pre-1995 Vietnamese. Both governments—and the Vietnamese-American community—interpreted it that way, Mr. Osius told The Atlantic in an email. The State Department, he added, had explained this to both the White House and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
This appears to be yet another instance of Trump espousing unnecessary and harsh anti-immigrant policies purely to appear macho to his base. Perhaps if Mr. Trump actually served in combat in Vietnam, he might understand the plight of the great many Vietnamese that fled.