Following reports that the Trump Administration is seeking to deport thousands of Hmong and Lao residents to Laos, Hmong community leaders have spoken out against the proposed move. A State Department employee did confirm that the federal government has contacted Laos about accepting deported U.S. residents and is exploring the funding of a reintegration program that would assist some individuals who need extra support in Laos.
The intended policy could affect more than 4,500 Hmong and Lao non-citizen U.S. residents who have criminal records or who have outstanding deportation orders. There are about 300,000 Hmong living in the U.S. nationwide, most of whom are now U.S. citizens. Those who are not citizens typically have green cards, having come from Laos as young children during refugee resettlements that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of these individuals have no connection to anyone remaining in Laos, nor do they speak any language but English.
Up until now, the U.S. has safeguarded these residents due to multiple human rights violations by the Community Laos government against the Hmong people. Many of these individuals fled Laos amid a civil war that involved nine years of U.S.-led bombing. Hmong community members report that family members who remained in Laos still are experiencing human rights violations, as Laos remains a Communist country.
In response to these reports, Congress has proposed a bill to block the Trump Administration’s proposed move. The Hmong and Lao Refugee Deportation Prohibition Act of 2020 would prohibit the federal government from deporting these individuals to Laos for 72 months. Additionally, the bill would require that the federal government reopen the immigration cases of all those affected individuals who have final orders of removal.
The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal immigration matters of countless individuals and businesses. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. Our goal is to get the best outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys.