Vietnamese Rally in Orange County Against Trump Plan to Deport War Refugees with Criminal Records

South Vietnamese (Nick Ut / Associated Press)
Nick Ut / Associated Press

Hundreds of Vietnamese-Americans rallied in Little Saigon, in Orange County, California, on Saturday against a Trump administration effort to deport 9,000 refugees of the Vietnam War, many of whom have been convicted of crimes.

That last detail — “convicted of crimes” — is missing from nearly every major headline about the issue. The Los Angeles Times reported:”Vietnamese Americans rally in Little Saigon against Trump administration’s push to deport thousands of war refugees.” Politico reported: “Trump push to deport Vietnam War refugees scalds California GOP.” The San Jose Mercury News reported: “Vietnamese refugees fear deportation as Trump administration discusses new deal with Vietnam.”

The implication is that President Donald Trump intends to report mere refugees from the war — “fake news” that has frightened an entire community some 300,000 people living in a politically sensitive area.

Democrats swept all four Republican-held seats in Orange County in the midterm elections last month — but those same seats will still be vulnerable in 2020, when new Republican challengers will be looking for rematches.

Ironically, it was Republicans, not Democrats, who welcomed the Vietnamese refugees to California in the first place. In 1975, then-Governor Jerry Brown — now retiring after his fourth term — complained about the arrival of refugees from the Vietnam War, saying that the federal government wanted to “dump Vietnamese on” California. To Democrats, the refugees were an uncomfortable reminder of the consequences of abandoning the war in Vietnam.

Since then, the community has leaned Republican and supplied Republican leaders to the state legislature.

The protests now, the Times admits in its article, concern “noncitizens who during previous administrations were arrested, convicted and ultimately ordered removed by a federal immigration judge,” according to the Department of Homeland Security. They were protected from deportation under a 1998 deal between the U.S. and Vietnam that the administration is now attempting to renegotiate.

But opponents of the Trump administration have seized the opportunity to damage the president. Assemblyman Chad Hayes (R-Yucca Valley), who was ousted from his party’s leadership after providing the key votes to pass an extension of the state’s cap-and-trade plan, tweeted that Trump’s policy “shovels more dirt on California Republican’s [sic] grave.” The fact that Trump is treating others with criminal records equally has been obscured.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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