Rep. Driscoll joins House Asian Caucus' call on the federal gov't to end targeting Southeast Asians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

BOSTON, JUNE 24, 2021 – The House Asian Caucus is joined by 59 of their colleagues seeking to condemn the disproportionate rise in deportations of Southeast Asian refugees. Having just marked World Refugee Day this past weekend, the House Asian Caucus is focused on spotlighting the unacknowledged reality of the Southeast Asian refugee population here in Massachusetts and across the country. Since 2017 the number of Southeast Asians who have been deported have increased exponentially. Cambodian American deportations increased 279% in 2018 alone. The Caucus stands in solidarity with Massachusetts' Southeast Asian community and calls on the President and Congress to end the policy of racially biased forced deportations.


Massachusetts’s House Asian Caucus Condemns Targeting of Southeast Asian Americans for Deportation


Massachusetts is home to the 6th largest Southeast Asian American population in the United States. This vibrant and diverse community is made up of Hmong, Lao, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and other ethnic minority groups, many of whom arrived as refugees after being displaced by decades of war, in particular the Vietnam War, or the American War as it is known by the Southeast Asian community. These communities have enriched the social, cultural, and economic landscape of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

In 2002, the United States established a repatriation agreement with Cambodia that would allow for the deportation of Cambodian refugees in the United States back to Cambodia. Following the Cambodian repatriation agreement, the United States established a repatriation agreement with Vietnam in 2008. This formalized agreement would facilitate the deportation of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants back to Vietnam who had arrived to the United States after July 12, 1995. However, some categories were included in the Vietnam repatriation agreement to afford some protection to refugees from Vietnam against deportation. In 2018, the U.S Department of Homeland Security tried to reinterpret the Vietnam agreement to unilaterally include pre-1995 refugees as eligible for deportation. This reinterpretation of the agreement has led to a handful of pre-1995 Vietnamese refugees being deported to Vietnam. Subsequently in 2020, diplomatic pressure was put on Laos to accept more Laotian, Hmong, Mien, Khmu, and other ethnic groups from Laos for deportation.


Many of the people facing deportation are refugees and survivors from the Vietnam War, Khmer Rouge Genocide, and the mass carpet bombing in Laos. Upon resettlement to the United States through the Refugee Resettlement Program, they became legal permanent residents. In the process of resettlement, Southeast Asian refugees faced many struggles, including mental health issues, poverty, language barriers, poor school environments and over-policing. Due to the lack of structural support as many Southeast Asian refugees resettled in this country, many found themselves interfacing with the criminal legal system because of criminal convictions, which led to the loss of their legal permanent status.

Decades later, many of the community members who are facing deportation have since served their sentences, rebuilt their lives, started families, and see this country as their home. For many, the United States is the only home they have known for more than a quarter century, many having only lived in refugee camps and never having stepped foot in their country of origin. An estimated 2.7 million Southeast Asians live in the United States today, with at least 16,000 people having received final orders of deportation, including 1,900 Cambodian Americans, 4,600 Laotian Americans, including Hmong, Mien, and other ethnic minority communities, and 8,600 Vietnamese Americans, including Montagnard and other ethnic minorities.

The House Asian Caucus and the undersigned Legislators stand in solidarity with the Commonwealth’s Southeast Asian populations. We ask that President Biden and the United States Congress end the policy of racially biased forced deportations.


Representative Donald Wong – 9th Essex District

Representative Tackey Chan – 2nd Norfolk District

Representative Paul A. Schmid III – 8th Bristol District

Representative Rady Mom – 18th Middlesex District

Representative Tram T. Nguyen – 18th Essex District

Representative Maria Duaime Robinson – 6th Middlesex District

Representative Vanna Howard – 17th Middlesex District

Representative Erika Uyterhoeven – 27th Middlesex District

Representative Lindsay N. Sabadosa – 1st Hampshire District

Senator James B. Eldridge – Middlesex & Worcester District

Representative David H. A. LeBoeuf – 17th Worcester District

Representative Sarah K. Peake – 4th Barnstable District

Representative Michael P. Kushmerek – 3rd Worcester District

Representative Nika C. Elugardo – 15th Suffolk District

Senator Michael D. Brady – 2nd Plymouth & Bristol District

Representative Danillo A. Sena – 37th Middlesex District

Representative Mindy Domb – 3rd Hampshire District

Representative Kathleen LaNatra – 12th Plymouth District

Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante – 5th Essex District

Representative Carlos González – 10th Hampden District

Senator Brendan P. Crighton – 3rd Essex District

Representative Bud L. Williams – 11th Hampden District

Representative Susannah M. Whipps – 2nd Franklin District

Representative Joan Meschino – 3rd Plymouth District

Representative Jessica Ann Giannino – 16th Suffolk District

Representative Jacob R. Oliveira – 7th Hampden District

Representative Natalie M. Higgins – 4th Worcester District

Senator Edward J. Kennedy – 1st Middlesex District

Senator Michael O. Moore – 2nd Worcester District

Representative James J. O'Day – 14th Worcester District

Representative Mathew Muratore – 1st Plymouth District

Representative Antonio F. D. Cabral – 13th Bristol District

Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier – 3rd Berkshire District

Senator Michael F. Rush – Norfolk & Suffolk District

Representative Christina Minicucci – 14th Essex District

Representative Steven C. Owens – 29th Middlesex District

Representative Meghan Kilcoyne – 12th Worcester District

Representative Patricia A. Haddad – 5th Bristol District

Representative Steven Ultrino – 33rd Middlesex District

Representative James Arciero – 2nd Middlesex District

Representative Sean Garballey – 23rd Middlesex District

Senator Jason M. Lewis – 5th Middlesex District

Representative Adrian C. Madaro – 1st Suffolk District

Representative Bruce J. Ayers – 1st Norfolk District

Senator Marc R. Pacheco – 1st Plymouth & Bristol District

Representative Carmine L. Gentile – 13th Middlesex District

Representative Elizabeth A. Malia – 11th Suffolk District

Representative Edward R. Philips – 8th Norfolk District

Representative Alice H. Peisch – 14th Norfolk District

Senator Adam Gomez – Hampden District

Senator Susan L. Moran – Plymouth & Barnstable District

Representative Peter Capano – 11th Essex District

Representative Tami L. Gouveia – 14th Middlesex District

Representative Marjorie C. Decker – 25th Middlesex District

Representative Michael S. Day – 31st Middlesex District

Senator Barry R. Finegold – 2nd Essex & Middlesex District

Senator Patrick O’Connor – Plymouth & Norfolk District

Representative Paul J. Donato – 35th Middlesex District

Representative Christine P. Barber – 34th Middlesex District

Representative Michelle L. Ciccolo – 15th Middlesex District

Representative Kay Khan – 11th Middlesex District

Representative Daniel Cahill – 10th Essex District

Senator Walter F. Timilty – Norfolk, Bristol & Plymouth District

Representative Kevin G. Honan – 17th Suffolk District

Senator Patricia D. Jehlen – 2nd Middlesex District

Senator John F. Keenan – Norfolk & Plymouth District

Representative William J. Driscoll, Jr. – 7th Norfolk District


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