On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, the Trump administration unilaterally decided to reinterpret an agreement from 2008 between the United States and Vietnam. This 2008 agreement discussed the proper procedure for how to deport a Vietnamese national from the United States with a final order of removal. However, the agreement specifically stated that these procedures would not apply to any Vietnamese national who entered the United States prior to July 12, 1995. This date was chosen as it was the first time the United States and Vietnam officially re-established diplomatic relations after the end of the Vietnam War. Its purpose was to protect those who had fled as refugees from the Vietnam War, and therefore do not see Vietnam as their home anymore.
Now, the Trump administration is re-interpreting this agreement, without consulting Vietnam, to mean that the U.S. government is not completely unable to remove people to Vietnam, even if they arrived before 1995. While details have not been provided at this time, it looks like the Trump administration is specifically looking to apply its reinterpretation to those with final orders of removal, or those who have certain criminal convictions.
Since we are not entirely sure how the Trump administration plans to implement this reinterpretation, we suggest that individuals who are a part of the following groups exercise caution:
1) Anyone with a final order of removal from an immigration judge should be careful to follow all rules, laws, and regulations in an effort to avoid interaction with law enforcement. Those with final orders AND criminal convictions should be especially cautious.
2) Anyone who has criminal convictions should avoid international travel in an abundance of caution. CBP officers could potentially reinterpret eligibility for removal and initiate removal proceedings, even if the convictions are old.
Should you have further questions regarding this policy, click here or call ) to schedule consultations to discuss your specific case, or provide “Know Your Rights” information regarding ICE Officers ability to enter your home. If anything dramatically changes regarding this policy, we will issue another update.