Vietnam Immigration Deportation/Removal Law

I am a Vietnamese national living in the United States as a legal permanent resident. If I am placed into deportation will I be sent back to Vietnam?

Due to a “Memorandum of Understanding” that was previously signed in Hanoi, if a Vietnamese national is ordered deported by an immigration Judge they will be returned to Vietnam if the person arrived in the United States on or After July 12, 1995.

This agreement has been the result of many years of negotiations between the two governments. The date July 12, 1995 is also a symbol of the date the United States restored relations with Vietnam. This agreement will be in place for five years from the date it was signed. It would not be realistic to believe after five years this agreement will no longer be in place. Since the relations between the two governments continue to improve it is possible in five years Vietnam may accept deportees arriving in the United States even earlier than July 12, 1995 under a new agreement. It will be years before we know how any future agreements will effect people arriving earlier but it is a very real possibility.

To put this new agreement into prospective there are currently more that 1.2 million Vietnamese living in the United States. This is the largest population of Vietnamese people in the world living outside Vietnam. And yet it has been estimated there is approximately 8,000 Vietnamese immigrants that are currently in deportation proceedings or have already received final orders to be deported. And out of these approximately 8,000 it is estimated 1,500 Vietnamese immigrants will be immediately affected by the new agreement.

For those arriving after July 12, 1995 returning to Vietnam applies to all Vietnamese immigrants ordered deported. It does not matter if the person is ordered deported because a criminal history or if someone simply overstayed a visitor visa. The US has agreed to pay for the cost of the deportation upon fifteen days notice to the Vietnamese government under the current agreement.

As for those arriving prior to July 12, 1995 an order of deportation means potential release after six months of detention based upon a 2001 Supreme Court ruling. Again these are the terms under the current agreement it remains to be seen if future agreements will reach further back than the July 12, 1995 date.

This agreement does not change or limit the possible relief from deportation a Vietnamese immigrant may have once in deportation. Most Vietnamese immigrants arrived in the United States as refugees and depending on the grounds for deportation this segment of the population may have a better chance of defeating the governments’ case against them since there is specific relief available for refugees, if they qualify for it, which is more lenient than most other grounds for relief from deportation.