Statement from National Asian Pacific American Women Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow on Trump administration’s decision to deport thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2018
Contact: Dorothy He
(872) 600-9517 / dhe@napawf.org

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the Trump administration announced its intent to deport a wave of Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants, most of whom are refugees that have lived in the United States for decades. The consequences are severe: thousands could be be caught in this dragnet. The vast majority of these individuals fled to the U.S. after facing unspeakable violence, famine, and a series of wars that destabilized the regions where they lived. The Trump administration’s decision to deport Vietnamese Americans, in particular, involves a heavy handed reinterpretation of a decade-old agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam to protect from deportation those who arrived before the two countries re-established diplomatic relations.

“We are horrified by the Trump administration’s announcement of intent to deport Southeast Asian immigrants. This stunning attack on Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants means that many who have called the United States home for years, and may have no memory of living elsewhere, will be sent to a country they no longer recognize. Like millions of other Asian immigrants, most of these individuals fled from war, hoping to rebuild their lives in a country they thought would respect their agency and right to make choices about their bodies, their lives, and their families. Now, they are being penalized for simply having dared to envision a better life — one without without violence or fear.

Time and time again, this administration has shown no regard for the humanity of immigrants or the communities they work so hard to create for themselves and their families in the United States. As we have written in detail, deporting these men and women will mean tearing apart families and forcing loved ones — especially children — to endure emotional trauma and financial difficulties. We cannot become desensitized to this crass, heartless treatment, and we certainly cannot accept this as the new normal. The dreams, hopes, and lives of so many families are at stake.

AAPI immigrants deserve justice and dignity. Tearing these Vietnamese and Cambodian American men and women away from their families, especially during the holidays, speaks to the cruel, ruthless views of this administration — which sees immigrants as numbers instead of human beings. Together, we must create a vision of justice that heals instead of divides, and builds power with our immigrant communities instead of tearing them down. NAPAWF will continue fighting to ensure that all AAPI women and girls can have agency over their bodies, their lives, and their families.”

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The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.