May 29, 2020 IN: Immigration, National, Press Room
Newly Introduced Legislation Seeks to Protect Certain Vietnamese Immigrants from Deportation
Rep. Lowenthal’s Honor Our Commitment Act would establish US-Vietnam MOU protections as law, is a step in the right direction
Washington, DC – Yesterday, Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) introduced the Honor Our Commitment Act, a move that would temporarily turn protections for refugees found in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the United States and Vietnam into law. Prior to the Trump Administration, the MOU was interpreted to exclude refugees who arrived in the United States prior to July 12, 1995, from deportation to Vietnam. Despite this precedent, the Trump Administration announced in 2018 that it would reinterpret the memorandum by choosing to ignore these protections in the MOU for pre-’95 Vietnamese immigrants from deportation.
Rep. Lowenthal’s bill prevents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from detaining and deporting Vietnamese immigrants who resided in the United States prior to July 12, 1995, for two years. It also would require DHS to provide a written notice to all Vietnamese Americans with a final order of removal explaining the requirements to file a motion to reopen their cases.
“We applaud Rep. Lowenthal for introducing this important bill. This Administration has shown that it is willing to ignore the longstanding interpretation that the US and Vietnam MOU protects Vietnamese refugees who resettled in the United States prior to 1995 from deportations,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “There is still much work to be done to prevent the deportations of all Southeast Asian refugees, but the Honor Our Commitment Act is a step in the right direction. As we commemorate the 45 years of Southeast Asian resettlement and resilience in America, we urge Congress to move quickly to prevent the detention and deportation of all refugees and immigrants by honoring our humanitarian commitment to freedom.”