Rep Stephanie Murphy, a refugee herself, is condemning a Trump administration announcement that Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the United States before 1995 are now subject to deportation.
Although in 2008 an agreement had barred war refugee Vietnamese immigrants from being able to be deported back, this population now remains unprotected, targeted and vulnerable to the 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 said on social media, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Murphy drew upon her experiences as an immigrant growing up in the United States and how without fleeing the country, she would have never built the career she has today. Murphy urged Trump to reflect on the humanitarian spirit that has defined the United States and reconsider the government’s decision that will affect hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese families.
According to the Orlando Weekly, the Trump Administration believes that immigrants with a record should not be protected by the government and therefore should be subjected to the same laws and restrictions as every other immigrant. Out of a population of 195,000 Vietnamese living in Little Saigon in Orange County, over 7000 are found to be at risk of possible deportation for crimes committed before arriving in the United States. In an interview with ABC 7 News, Tung Nguyen admitted he was involved in a stabbing in Vietnam at just 16 years old. However even after serving 18 years in prison and being pardoned by the governor of California, he still faces immediate deportation. For over two decades, Nguyen has built a life along with a family in Little Saigon and believes because of the hard work and dedication he has made to repay his debt along with contributing to society, he has earned the right to call America home.
The ripple effects of Trump’s announcement have been felt from Little Saigon to Florida and could possibly affect international ties as well. According to the Orlando Sentinel, U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius resigned after the administration had asked Osius to “press the government in Hanoi to receive from the United States more than 8,000 people, most of whom had fled South Vietnam on boats and through the jungle in the years immediately following the war.” He stated that the government’s new decision is a broken promise to the Vietnamese families who were all either from the southern region of Vietnam or allies of the south-all of who supported the United States intervention during the war. Returning them to Vietnam, he believes, would put their lives in danger because they would be returning to the government they opposed.
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