SEARAC Applauds the Introduction of the Honor Our Commitments Act

For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2022

Media contact:
Jenna McDavid
Communications and Development Manager

Washington, DC – SEARAC applauds the introduction of the Honor Our Commitment Act. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), joined by Reps. Lou Correa (CA-46), Michelle Steel (CA-48) and fourteen other members of Congress, introduced the bill on May 10. The bipartisan bill would codify the deportation protections in the 2008 US-Vietnam Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by preventing Vietnamese refugees and immigrants who arrived in the United States prior to July 12, 1995 from being detained or removed.

The Bush and Obama Administrations both recognized and implemented the MOU’s deportation protections. However, the Trump Administration entered into a new agreement with Vietnam that stripped deportations protections from Vietnamese individuals. There are currently over 9,000 Vietnamese individuals in the United States who live with a final order of removal.

“A majority of Vietnamese refugees resettled in the United States because of US military intervention in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and because of our allyship with the United States during that era,” said Quyên Đinh, Executive Director of SEARAC. “It is unconscionable that the Trump Administration undid a decade of policy and that our country continues to deport Southeast Asian American community members. Rather than remove refugees, the United States should give them the second chance that they deserve and recognize the ways our communities have thrived despite severe trauma and hardship. We applaud Rep. Lowenthal, Correa, Steel, and other Members of Congress for understanding the unique experiences of Vietnamese communities and introducing this important piece of legislation. SEARAC and our partners urge Congress to support this bipartisan bill.