California governor pardons three Vietnamese Americans at risk of deportation

By Nguyen Quy   November 25, 2018 | 04:09 am PT
California governor pardons three Vietnamese Americans at risk of deportation
U.S. flags are handed out at a ceremony in California. Photo by Reuters/Robert Galbraith
Three Vietnamese American men detained by U.S. immigration for deportation have been pardoned by the California governor Jerry Brown.

Tung Thanh Nguyen, Truong Quang Ly and Hai Trong Nguyen, who entered the U.S. as refugees many years ago, but faced federal removal orders from the country, were granted clemency by Governor Brown last Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Their involvement in criminal convictions for aggravated assault, robbery and drug-related crimes ensnared the three men in a crackdown by the U.S. government that has put thousands of Vietnamese Americans at risk of deportation.

The three men had completed their sentences several years ago and were being held in custody awaiting deportation to Vietnam.

The pardons may allow them to avoid deportation from federal immigration agents.

Thousands of immigrants from Vietnam have been targeted by the Donald Trump administration’s hardline immigration policy.

As per a 2008 bilateral agreement between Vietnam and the United States, "Vietnamese citizens are not subject to return to Vietnam" if they "arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995."

The United States is in breach of this agreement as it seeks to deport thousands of immigrants from Vietnam, according to Washington’s former ambassador to Hanoi, Ted Osius.

Osius told Reuters last April that most people targeted for deportation had arrived in the United States prior to 1995, the year diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the United States were resumed after the Vietnam War.

Brendan Raedy, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) spokesman, said that as of December last year, there were 8,600 Vietnamese nationals in the United States subject to deportation and "7,821 have criminal convictions."

The Trump administration has labeled Vietnam and eight other countries "recalcitrant" for their unwillingness to accept deported nationals.

According to ICE figures, 71 Vietnamese people were deported to Vietnam last year, compared to 35 in 2016, and 32 in 2015. No information is given on when the deportees arrived in the United States.

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