“For me and many other Southeast Asians, deportation is an endless punishment that further destabilizes our families. In 2006 when I was 22 years old, I was arrested for a drug-related charge on the day I was scheduled to take my oath to become a citizen,” said Justin Nguyen, a refugee from Vietnam and impacted individual. “As a result, I served almost three years and was detained by ICE twice. Even though I have opened businesses, gotten married, and become a father since I was released, the threat of deportation looms over my head every day. With the Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act, my family and our community can finally have the chance to recover from our trauma and fully heal.”
“It is inhumane and un-American to simply cast aside members of our communities and deport them to a place they do not know, and where their basic human rights are not guaranteed, and in many cases abused,” said Rep. Lowenthal. “We must uphold the solemn promises we made to these refugees.“
“More than 1.2 million Southeast Asian refugees settled in the U.S. after the Vietnam War. They all deserve safety and security,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship. “The US government should not be deporting refugees to countries where they may face persecution or human rights abuses. The Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act of 2022 will keep our promises to Southeast Asian refugees and protect them from removal.”
“We must restore the humanity to our immigration system and turn away from mandatory deportations that do not take into account an individual’s full circumstances," said Rep. Judy Chu. "The Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act of 2022 will prevent deportations of Southeast Asian refugees and ensure access to work permits for men and women with deep roots in their communities who have lived in the United States for decades as lawful permanent residents.”
“Welcoming doesn’t end at opening the door. We need to invest in resources to help people integrate so they are thriving, not just surviving. The Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act would bring immediate relief to Southeast Asian Americans who live in daily fear of deportation. It would allow Southeast Asian Americans across the country to be able to thrive, and to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “I’m proud to help introduce this bill, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to end the inhumane targeting of Southeast Asian refugees and to fix our broken laws and policies that hurt our communities.”
"We should not be deporting vulnerable community members from their homes to countries where their basic human rights and safety would be threatened—and our Southeast Asian immigrant neighbors are no exception,” said Rep. Ayanna Pressley. “I’m proud to join Congressman Lowenthal and our colleagues on this important legislation to halt these unjust deportations and keep our promises to the community.”
Nancy Nguyen, National Campaign Director for the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) said, "After decades of endless displacement and separation, today marks a historic moment for our community: the possibility of systematically ending Southeast Asian deportations. During the two past decades, the Southeast Asian community has experienced the cruel and brutal pain of being ripped apart, with tens of thousands of our people facing the threat of removal to countries our people fled for survival. During the past two decades, our community has also banded together to support, love, and protect each other, culminating in the Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act. Now that this historic legislation is introduced, we will continue fighting to make sure it passes so that our community can finally live with safety and dignity."
“Today’s introduction of the Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act is a testament to decades of resilient community organizing and advocacy,” said Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of SEARAC. “We thank the leadership of co-leads Rep. Alan Lowenthal, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Judy Chu, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and we are also appreciative of Rep. Rashida Tlaib demonstrating her support at the press conference. We urge others in Congress to join in support of this monumental legislation so that Southeast Asian American refugee families can finally heal from the trauma of continued displacement via detention and deportation.”