NewsLocal News

Actions

Deportation fears high in Wisconsin's Hmong Community

Posted: 6:25 PM, Feb 11, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-13 11:17:13-05

MILWAUKEE — A recent trip by the Secretary of State to Laos has a Minnesota Congresswoman concerned for her Hmong constituents.

Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum expressed these concerns about the United States trying to deport Hmong & Laos residents.

The State Department says the meeting was to strengthen a partnership between the two countries.

"My first reaction was, 'is this for real?'" Dawn Yang, GM of Nyob Zoo Milwaukee TV said.

Yang's family has been in the United States since the 70s. Her family are citizens and she considers Wisconsin home.

But she has growing fears about how this could send them back to Laos.

"This is a huge concern," Yang said. "What if you fall between the cracks or you're a mistake and you're sent back and you were raised here? If you are sent back, you pretty much are going to be alienated and pretty much struggle."

According to data collected by Syracuse University, since the year 2000, 143 people in Wisconsin faced deportation to Laos. Almost half (69) were forced to leave. So now, Yang worries members of her family could be next.

"The Hmong people sacrificed a lot to be here," Yang said. "Thousands died during Vietnam fighting alongside the U.S. during the Secret War. We feel we have the right to be here. We've earned it. The new deportation policy is just a slap in the face."

Senator Ron Johnson says they have reached out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for more information.

Sen. Johnson's office also clarified which Hmong residents this policy could impact.

This would not apply to all Hmong in the U.S., rather just those who are not citizens and who have been ordered removed by an immigration judge. This is mostly likely due to a criminal conviction that led to a deportation order. Also, a deportee would be able to be screened for the risk of future persecution or torture prior to being removed back to Laos. It is incumbent upon the U.S. government to ensure that deportees are returned safely and not subjected to future persecution once removed from the U.S.GS
Sen. Ron Johnson

This would not apply to all Hmong in the U.S., rather just those who are not citizens and who have been ordered removed by an immigration judge. This is mostly likely due to a criminal conviction that led to a deportation order. Also, a deportee would be able to be screened for the risk of future persecution or torture prior to being removed back to Laos. It is incumbent upon the U.S. government to ensure that deportees are returned safely and not subjected to future persecution once removed from the U.S.GS

“I urge the Trump administration to act carefully and judiciously to ensure law-abiding Hmong in the United States legally are treated fairly. The Hmong community is an important part of the fabric of Wisconsin," said Senator Johnson.

Senator Tammy Baldwin said, "There is a long and dark history of human rights violations by the Communist government of Laos against the Hmong and I am deeply concerned that the Trump administration would tear families apart in Wisconsin and target Hmong and Lao refugees residing in our state. Wisconsin has a special bond with the Hmong community and it is my hope that this administration will stop its plan to break this bond with my constituents."

Report a typo or error