Photo Credit: Joe Brusky

MILWAUKEE -- Recent news reports have revealed that the Trump administration may be close to an agreement with the government of Laos which would allow the administration to deport Hmong and other Laotian citizens who fall under certain specific criteria.  Previously these persons could not be deported because the government of Laos refused to receive persons expelled by the U.S.  

“This is another example of Trump’s racist attempt to target specific groups of people of color for deportation,” said Tim Muth, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Wisconsin. “In the various versions of the Muslim Ban and the cancellation of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, Salvadorans and others, Trump has consciously targetted specific national, ethnic and religious groups to be victims of his deportation machine.”   

Targeting the Hmong community who have become a valued part of Wisconsin is particularly troubling.  Hmong refugees were resettled in the State after being persecuted in Laos for the assistance they provided to the US military during the Vietnam War.

“The ACLU of Wisconsin condemns these racist ideas of President Trump and calls on the administration to abandon policies which rip apart families with deep roots in our state,” Muth added. “The existence of a criminal conviction for which someone has completed their sentence decades ago should not outweigh the damage caused by family separation.”

Hmong residents of the State of Wisconsin who believe they may be subject to deportation as a result of prior removal orders or prior criminal convictions should consult with a qualified immigration attorney regarding any relief which might be available. Naturalized citizens or persons holding green cards without prior criminal convictions should understand that any recent discussion with the government of Laos would not subject them to removal.