Administration Renegotiating Deportation Deal with Vietnam

Credit: Louis PHDC

(Español) In 2008, the Bush administration made an agreement with Vietnam about which potential deportees the country would accept form the United States. In recent years, the Trump administration has begun to renegotiate that agreement. After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, diplomatic relationships between the United States and Vietnam did not normalize until 1995. In that timeframe, thousands of Vietnamese immigrants arrived in the United States with carrying statuses and, prior to normalization, the Vietnamese government would not accept any deportees from the United States. After normalization of diplomatic relations, it took years of negotiations between the two nations to reach the agreement in 2008, in which Vietnam would begin to only accept deportees who arrived to the United States after 1995. This has allowed some Vietnamese immigrants to remain in the country for over 20 years.

The agreement has been the standard operation for the past decade under the Obama administration and the beginning of the Trump administration. Now, the current administration has begun renegotiating the agreement in an effort to have Vietnam accept any immigrant marked for removal, regardless of when they arrived into the United States. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are approximately 7,000 Vietnamese nationals in the United States with final orders of removal. These 7,000 people can become easy targets for agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pick up and remove relatively quickly. According to a spokesman for DHS, at least 11 Vietnamese nationals who arrived prior to 1995 have already been deported.

This new standard has created upheaval and uncertainty in many Vietnamese communities. While there has been no official announcement as to a new agreement between the two governments, attorneys have been keeping their ears to the ground to stay on top of updates. It remains to be seen what, if any, new formal agreement is reached between the United States and Vietnam in regards to the repatriation of Vietnamese nationals.