Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) announced in an op-ed piece in the Star Tribune a bill to stop the deportations to Laos for 72 months.
Last month, the Trump administration announced it was negotiating a repatriation agreement with Laos to allow the deportations to proceed.
“These communities are now threatened by the Trump administration’s cruel and destructive immigration policies that betray the promises made to Hmong veterans and their families,” McCollum wrote. “Today, more than 4,700 Hmong and Lao individuals in the U.S. who never became naturalized citizens face deportation to Laos due to past criminal convictions that may have taken place decades ago.
“It is inhumane. It is cruel. And it can be a matter of life and death,” she continued.
Some, however, in the Asian American community fear the bill doesn’t go far enough. KaYing Yang, director of programs and partnerships at the Coalition of Asian American Leaders, says while she’s thankful for McCollum efforts, she says the bill would only defer the deportations, not stop them.
“We do not want the introduction of this bill to be a symbolic gesture because it will instill false hope in our community,” Yang said to NBC News. “It will also divert resources and energy from supporting urgent concrete actions that can lead to helping impacted families. We want our congressional leaders to reach across the aisle to do all that they can to enact policies that lead to stopping the deportation of refugees to countries where they fled political conflict.”
Rep Ron Kind (D-WI) says the deportations threatened by the Trump Administration are unacceptable.
“With ongoing reports of serious human rights abuses in Laos—especially towards Hmong people since the end of the Vietnam War—cited in the State Department’s own reports to Congress, it would be a huge mistake for this Administration to send these individuals or their families back to a country where they will be put in harm’s way,” he said to WisPolitics.com . I’m proud to work with my colleagues to introduce legislation to block the Administration from pursuing such a reckless action.”
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