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Stephanie Murphy condemns reported Trump plan to allow Vietnamese war refugees to be deported
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, herself a refugee from Vietnam, said she was “deeply concerned” about a reported Trump administration policy change that could leave former Vietnamese war refugees vulnerable to deportation after decades in the United States.
The Atlantic reported Wednesday the administration has decided Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before diplomatic ties were re-established in 1995, who since 2008 have been specifically barred from being deported to communist Vietnam, would now be “subject to standard immigration law—meaning they are all eligible for deportation.”
There were an estimated 12,845 people of Vietnamese background in Orange County alone in 2017, according to the U.S. Census, part of a diaspora following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 that brought thousands of refugees fleeing the victorious Communist government.
“My family fled Communist Vietnam when I was a baby because they would have rather died in search of light than to have lived in darkness,” Murphy, D-Winter Park, said in a statement on social media. “Thanks to a program under President Carter, we resettled to the U.S., and I became a proud citizen of this great nation.”
Murphy, the first Vietnamese-American woman to serve in Congress, stressed, “As an American, I’m deeply concerned by [Trump’s] attempts to renegotiate the 2008 MOU between Vietnam and the U.S., which would potentially deport Vietnamese refugees who arrived in the U.S. before 1995.”
“This debate is about keeping our promises and honoring this country's longstanding humanitarian spirit,” Murphy said. “I urge [Trump] to be mindful of this proposed policy's impacts on thousands of families. We can keep America safe and continue to uphold our fundamental American values.”
The New York Times reported last month that the Trump administration had supposedly backed off its plans to deport thousands of long-term immigrants from Vietnam and other countries – including many with green cards who had not been naturalized – for having at some point committed crimes the administration classified as being deportable.
The U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius, “characterized the deportation effort as a broken promise to South Vietnamese families who had been allies of the United States during the war and would not be safe in Vietnam,” the Times reported. Osius was removed from his post and resigned from the State Department.
“Some of them were in re-education camps; all of them were on the side of the South,” Osius told the Times.