Trump Administration Planning To Deport Thousands Of Vietnamese Immigrants With Criminal Convictions

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Following the Vietnam War, many refugees were taken in by the United States and have lived there for more than two decades. U.S. President Donald Trump wants to change all of that.

As reported by Vox, Trump is trying desperately to convince the Vietnamese government to take back around 8,000 people who have been residing in the United States since 1995. That number supposedly includes legal immigrants who are noncitizens of the U.S. and have committed serious crimes and immigrants who are unauthorized. Those who are unauthorized are likely classified as such because committing a crime made them ineligible for citizenship.

This is reportedly not the first time the Trump administration has laid out plans to deport immigrants who have put down roots in the country over many years. He has also tried his hand at ending Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, and in trying to rescind protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, with seemingly the same tactics.

It is also consistent with Trump’s insistence on deporting people who the U.S. had a rather significant hand in forcing into the situations that resulted in them having to flee their country of birth.

While it is highly unlikely that many people will actually be affected by a change, the administration is trying to increase the number of people that will be affected as well as the number of people who are fearing for their immigration status.

Until quite recently, arresting and deporting unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. was extremely uncommon. But during the Bush administration in the mid-2000s, the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement were created, greatly increasing the chance of someone being caught and deported.

The reported problem the U.S. has now is that people cannot be deported to countries that are unwilling to accept them. This potentially means that Trump and his administration will first have to convince the Vietnamese government to take back people who haven’t lived within their borders for more than two decades. The U.S. can issue a judicial order of deportation, but can’t actually force them to leave.

In 2008, the Vietnamese and U.S. governments signed a diplomatic agreement that the Asian nation would take back their unwanted citizens, but only for those who arrived in America after 1995. Just last year, Trump tried to argue that the agreement should extend to those who arrived before 1995 and have committed criminal offenses in the U.S.

Following that, Vietnam accepted 11 deported migrants, and the U.S. started detaining Vietnamese immigrants who had been given final deportation orders. Unfortunately for Trump, civil rights groups sued the administration, arguing that they were violating Zadvydas v Davis, the Supreme Court decision that prevents the U.S. from holding immigrants in detention indefinitely.

In August this year, the administration told the judge presiding over the suit that the policy of deporting Vietnamese immigrants was being put on hold indefinitely as the government has no plans to start accepting their deportees.

The administration has again changed its mind about what the agreement allows, arguing that there are no protections in place for immigrants from before 1995, for either those with or without criminal convictions. Regardless of what Trump has read into the agreement, his administration is unable to deport Vietnamese refugees or immigrants unless the Vietnamese government agrees to accept them.