SEARAC applauds U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar’s decision to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the implementation of the Trump Administration’s asylum ban. Judge Tigar, of San Francisco, reasoned that the ban violated current immigration law, which allows individuals fleeing violence in their home countries to apply for asylum regardless of how they enter the United States or their current location in the country. In contrast, the Administration’s ban would require individuals to enter the United States through a port of entry in order to apply for asylum, further aggravating the already long and complicated processing of asylum claims. This lawsuit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups on behalf of East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, a refugee advocacy group based in Berkeley, CA.
Southeast Asian Americans (SEAAs) from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam comprise the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States’ history. More than 1.2 million SEAA refugees were resettled in the United States after decades of the US-backed war in Vietnam, the Secret War in Laos, and the bombings of Cambodia, followed by the ruthless Khmer Rouge-orchestrated genocide
. Although the majority of SEAAs were granted refugee status prior to resettling in the United States, a small number have also applied for asylum over the last decade.
“Our communities understand the courage and resilience required for families to escape their home countries due to fear of violence and persecution,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director at SEARAC. “It is unconscionable for the Trump Administration to circumvent policies that have long established this country’s history of moral leadership and humanitarian aid. Our domestic and international laws helped resettle Southeast Asian Americans in the United States, and we will not allow those standards to be diminished.”