The Trump administration recently began pressuring Vietnam to uphold a repatriation agreement that the two countries reached in 2008, by which Vietnamese refugees were not subject to return to Vietnam if they arrived in the U.S. prior to July 12, 1995. This was established as the date that the two countries resumed diplomatic relations. Most of these individuals had fled Vietnam in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, as they feared persecution at the hands of the communist government. These refugees have been living under an unclear immigration status; if they have criminal records, they cannot obtain a legal immigration status, but they aren’t eligible to be deported, either. To date, Vietnam has steadfastly refused to take these immigrants back from the U.S.
Now, however, the administration has made it clear that it intends to abandon the repatriation agreement by deporting those Vietnamese refugees with deportable criminal offenses, which is estimated to affect as many as 8,000 individuals. After 23 years or more, many of these immigrants no longer have any ties to Vietnam; they have no family members or friends to whom they can turn if returned to Vietnam. Furthermore, as a result of these changes in federal government policy, some Vietnamese immigrants have remained detained for 11 months or more because they cannot be deported.
While most of these immigrants have criminal records, some are decades old, or youthful indiscretions that these individuals had put behind them long ago. A class action lawsuit is still pending in a Los Angeles federal district court that seeks to challenge the indefinite detention of Vietnamese immigrants with deportation orders.
The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal representation of countless individuals facing various immigration-related issues. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys today.