Continuing his effort to cleanse America of any icky brown people, Trump is now seeking to reverse nearly half a century of policy and a signed agreement with Vietnam and deport Vietnamese refugees who fled the American invasion — it wasn’t a war, it was an invasion, one sold to the public with a blatant lie — and have been in this country for decades.
The Trump administration is resuming its efforts to deport certain protected Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in the United States for decades—many of them having fled the country during the Vietnam War.
This is the latest move in the president’s long record of prioritizing harsh immigration and asylum restrictions, and one that’s sure to raise eyebrows—the White House had hesitantly backed off the plan in August before reversing course. In essence, the administration has now decided that Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the country before the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Vietnam are subject to standard immigration law—meaning they are all eligible for deportation.The administration last year began pursuing the deportation of many long-term immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, and other countries who the administration alleges are “violent criminal aliens.” But Washington and Hanoi have a unique 2008 agreement that specifically bars the deportation of Vietnamese people who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995—the date the two former foes reestablished diplomatic relations following the Vietnam War.
The White House unilaterally reinterpreted the agreement in the spring of 2017 to exempt people convicted of crimes from its protections, allowing the administration to send back a small number of pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants, a policy it retreated from this past August. Last week, however, James Thrower, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Hanoi, said the American government was again reversing course.
In business there’s an old saying: You break it, you bought it. We broke Vietnam, invaded it on a false pretense and killed somewhere between two and three million people. We had no interests at stake and Vietnam certainly was not a threat to us by any possible stretch of the imagination. But that invasion caused a flood of refugees, which is inevitable when you destroy whole countries. We did the same in Central America, where the current refugee caravans are coming from (we didn’t have to invade, we just installed and propped up brutal dictators who allowed American companies to destroy them).
Like the DACA folks, these people have been here for decades. For those brought here as children, it’s really the only country they’ve ever known. And Vietnamese immigrants have helped revitalize cities like New Orleans and Houston. They add enormously to our economy and our culture. And if they were white, that would matter to Trump. But they’re not, so it doesn’t.