The White House unilaterally reinterpreted the agreement in the spring of 2017 to exempt those convicted of crimes from its protection, allowing the government to return a small number of Vietnamese immigrants before 1995, a policy it withdrew last August. However, last week, James Thrower, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, said the U.S. government was reversing the course. Phi Nguyen – no relation – is the director of the trial at Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Atlanta. It says that a 2008 agreement between the United States and Vietnam set parameters for deportation. As has already been said, the government`s efforts to deport Vietnamese immigrants prior to July 1995 are particularly worrisome. The United States and Vietnam reached a repatriation agreement in 2008. The agreement takes into account the long and complex history between the two countries and provides a level of protection to the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese immigrants who fled their homeland after the Vietnam War to seek refuge in the United States. Many of the refugees were South Vietnamese citizens who, during this conflict, had fought alongside the United States or supported them in another way.
Accordingly, the agreement states that Vietnamese immigrants “are not required to return to Vietnam under this agreement if they entered the United States before July 12, 1995, when diplomatic relations between the U.S. government and the Vietnamese government resumed.” The Trump administration is working to deport long-term migrants from countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia because of their tendency to provoke “violent criminal aliens.” One step toward that goal was the White House`s unilateral reinterpretation of the agreement in 2017, which said it excluded those convicted of crimes, allowing the United States to deport the small number of otherwise protected immigrants. “The initial agreement for us was extremely important to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to the Vietnamese and Americans who arrived as refugees,” said Quyen Dinh of the Asian Resource Action Centre. In 2008, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (formerly available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website but removed) was the first agreement signed between the United States and Vietnam on the issue of deportation; Hanoi had previously refused to be able to issue the necessary travel documents for the deportees. The agreement defined the parameters of all deportations to Vietnam and was considered by both parties as well as by Vietnamese and American associations as protection against all Vietnamese immigrants who arrived before 1995, without exception and regardless of whether they were not documented or convicted of a crime in the United States. The agreement was initially for five years and was then to be automatically renewed for a period of three years, unless one of the parties was excluded, which neither party has done publicly. “The United States and Vietnam signed a bilateral deportation agreement in 2008, which defines the deportation procedures for Vietnamese nationals who entered the United States after July 12, 1995 and are subject to final deportation orders,” said James Thrower, a U.S. spokesman.