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Little Laos Rejects DHS visa sanction against Laos in exchange for accepting deportees

Little Laos Editorial Board and its mother org, The SEAD Project, condemns the latest level of aggression from the Trump administration against Laos and refugees and immigrants from Laos. On Tuesday, July 10th, DHS (Department of Homeland Security) officially issued its first set of visa sanctions on Laos, stating its reason that the Lao government refuses to take back its nationals with deportation orders, also known as final orders of removal.

This is the beginning of its sanctions, which targets Lao government officials and their immediate families. The US Embassy in Vientiane has stopped issuing B1, B2, and B1/B2 nonimmigrant visas. While this impacts Lao governmental officials who may be traveling to the US, the announcement incites unnecessary fear and completely fails to inform communities that this policy implication will impact Lao, Hmong and other ethnic groups from Laos who came as refugees with permanent status and had criminal convictions that they’ve already served time for and that this can also include those who are undocumented or simply have expired green cards that they were unaware of– which are all grounds for deportation.

According to SEARAC, since 1998, 4,568 individuals from Laos have been issued deportation orders. Of that number, there have been a total of 206 deportations, with 4,362 still waiting in the US. “We can’t forget that these are our families, friends and neighbors who came as refugees and immigrants to escape the dire conditions in Southeast Asia of America’s war at the time, and have been living here for decades contributing to the social, cultural and economic fabric of America. This is their home now. And they are humans, too. We should do everything in our power to work with our community members in amplifying their stories and keeping families together. This will only exacerbate and strain US-Laos relations,” says Chanida Phaengdara Potter, founding editor of Little Laos on the Prairie and executive director of The SEAD Project.

Read the full DHS announcement here or below. Check the FAQs on what this announcement means.

DHS Announces Implementation of Visa Sanctions

Release Date:
July 10, 2018

On July 10, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced, in coordination with the State Department, the implementation of visa sanctions on Burma and Laos due to lack of cooperation in accepting their citizens who have been ordered removed the United States.

Pursuant to her authority under Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen notified Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the governments of Burma and Laos have denied or unreasonably delayed accepting their nationals ordered removed from the United States.

As a result, Secretary Pompeo has ordered consular officers in Burma and Laos to implement visa restrictions on certain categories of visa applicants. Without an appropriate response from Burma and Laos, the scope of these sanctions may be expanded to a wider population. The suspension will remain in place until the Secretary Nielsen notifies Secretary Pompeo that cooperation on removals has improved to an acceptable level.

The decision to sanction a recalcitrant country is not taken lightly. DHS makes significant efforts, in collaboration with the State Department, to encourage countries to accept the prompt, lawful return of their nationals who are subject to removal from the United States. Those efforts include diplomatic communications at the highest level of government.

As a general matter, recalcitrant countries who refuse to issue travel documents render meaningless the United States’ entire removal process as enacted by Congress in the INA, and such countries also fail to meet their international treaty obligations to take back their nationals who have been ordered removed.

Further, based on the Supreme Court’s decision in Zadvydas v. Davis, with narrow exceptions, aliens with final orders of removal, including aliens determined to pose a threat to the community or considered a flight risk, may not be detained beyond a presumptively reasonable period of six months if there is no “significant likelihood of removal in the reasonably foreseeable future.” When recalcitrant countries like Burma and Laos delay or refuse to issue travel documents to their nationals or refuse to accept their nationals within this time period, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may be required to release dangerous criminals into communities across the United States.

Ultimately, without a travel document issued by an alien’s home country to confirm identity and nationality, ICE cannot complete the removal process of most aliens, with very limited exceptions.

Burma and Laos have not established repeatable processes for issuing travel documents to their nationals ordered removed from the United States. For this reason, ICE has been required to release Burmese and Lao nationals into the United States, some with serious criminal convictions.

Specific sanctions effective dates are listed below:

BURMA: As of July 9, 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, Burma has discontinued the issuance of all B1 and B2 nonimmigrant visas for current officials at the Director General level and above from the Burmese Ministries of Labor, Immigration, and Population (MOLIP) and Home Affairs (MOHA), and their immediate family members, with limited exceptions.

LAOS: As of July 9, 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, Laos, has discontinued the issuance of all B1, B2, and B1/B2 nonimmigrant visas for current officials at the Director General level and above from the Lao Ministry of Public Security (MPS) as well as their immediate families; and all A3 and G5 nonimmigrant visas to individuals employed by Lao government officials, with limited exceptions.

The Department of State may change the covered visa applicants or visa categories at any time.  Visa suspensions may include any categories of visa or visa applicants, as determined by the Department.

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Keep posted on upcoming interviews about the immigration landscape and how it will impact Lao Americans.

-editor@littlelaos.org

11 Comments

  1. Khan the Great says

    As if American people care you reject that or not. MAGA!

  2. so reacting to a communist government that refuses to work with existing laws. trying to fairly enforce existing laws on people that violate their conditions, giving over 4k people, like 99% of violators, that violated laws 20 years of still living in the united states is bad?

    you say you want equality, but you don’t. you want special treatment. and you are beyond insane. only 200 people have been deported FOR VIOLATING LAWS, which violates the requirements of immigration. they allowed the other 4,300 to stay for 20 years. and you complain of unfairness. america is more than reasonable. should america be more fair and deport all of them like they do every other violator of immigration law? should they be like other countries and not allow any due process or appeals? should they be like malaysia and cane illegals before they deport them?

    “While this impacts Lao governmental officials who may be traveling to the US, the announcement incites unnecessary fear and completely fails to inform communities that this policy implication will impact Lao, Hmong and other ethnic groups from Laos who came as refugees with permanent status and had criminal convictions that they’ve already served time for and that this can also include those who are undocumented or simply have expired green cards that they were unaware of– which are all grounds for deportation.” you’re the ones inciting fear. read any of your political articles. all fear mongering and lies.

    you say, “This will only exacerbate and strain US-Laos relations”. you know what really does? pushing actual political lies through your charity status blog. you have a bunch of articles that outright lie and divide lao americans calling america a racist, unfair, murderous country, with no actual credible evidence. first of all, that is complete bullshit, second if it was true, why still here and why try to get more people to come. laos is a beautiful country that will drag you away in the middle of the night and torture you to death with no recourse. you are free to go there. but once there not free anymore. enjoy your trip.

    • The Laounge says

      Just because you have a valid green card doesn’t exempt you from deportation even without a criminal charge. I’ve even read a story about a naturalized citizen that got his US Citizenship stripped from him but this was an rare and extreme case that had to do with terrorism. America as great as it is, still has its issues and if you are requiring credible evidence about racist, unfair, and murderous country. Check with the KKK and other groups who have caused terror in the south and still yet to be name a domestic terrorist organization, unfair check the recent Asian Student Group vs Harvard lawsuit regarding admissions policies, and murderous just ask the remaining Native Americans. Yes this is the land of milk and honey, but milk goes bad and honey has a process in which we can eat it.

      • FBI has a “watch” list for domestic terrorists. key word being watch, meaning they are interested in active threats. i couldn’t find a general lists of all official domestic terrorists groups, but FBI does have a watchlist of specific active terrorists that are a danger. the most important issue for the FBI is threat level. reason why KKK and other white supremacists aren’t big on their active watch lists is because they statistically aren’t as much of a threat. from the day after 9/11 to 2017 there have been 86 domestic terrorists attacks. 62 are from far right extremists, KKK included i assume that killed 109 victims. 23 attacks are from radical Islamist immigrants and they killed 119 victims. in the last 15 years there are almost 3x more “white” terrorists attacks than Islamic, but they managed to kill less people. if you add in 9/11 you got 3k more victims. so while you call america racists because they aren’t focusing on white terrorists, there is a much more logical non racial reason. they aren’t as dangerous and they need to focus on the more dangerous terrorists.

        if it is true KKK aren’t on a official domestic terrorists list, i agree they should be. i couldn’t find a general list, so i can’t say they aren’t. if you got a link to a official list, please show.

        but as for why there aren’t more KKK/white terrorists on the FBI domestic terrorists “watchlist”, it’s because they aren’t as deadly/active. in 15 years they only did 62 attacks. yes they are dangerous and should be looked after. but if you think america is racists because they are busy looking at groups that killed 3k+ people in the same time span as white terrorists, you are looking for racism that isn’t there.

        the asian students vs harvard is a liberal issue. i been advocating against this for 10 years since i went to school. nice all you good liberals finally caught up. harvard is full of lefists democrats, they are very racists against many people, even blacks. affirmative action is inherently racists, against blacks, and other groups pushed out because of their special treatment. that is hardly amercia’s fault. at least 1/3 of america is conservative. yet when some stupid liberals destroy the school system with racist policies that i fought against 10 years ago, all american’s are racists. does that make you a racists too for living in america where high status rich liberals make policies for education that you had no say in?

        what murderous acts are you referring too? the land war settlers engaged in with native americans for 100 years? war is war, conquest is conquest. natives killed and fought as well not just with settlers, but against other natives. natives have been warring for as long as civilation existed and conquesting land from each other. we do it as well, which we can have moral argument if that is okay, but to say engaging in a war or land conquest makes us murderous, well natives are as well, as are every other civilization ever. including laos. how do you think asian got it’s boarders/countries lines? conquest and war for a long time until groups were strong enough to defend certain areas that because countries. if that is a knock against a country and the people within it, everyone is guilty, including you. want to be more reasonable?

    • Kat says

      They don’t know how bad it really is in Laos. They live in paradise but can’t even see it. They would rather continue living in fear. Continue repeating the behaviors they learned as a kid- gossip, gossip, spread fear, get excited, spread hate and continue in the cycle until they’re dead.

  3. Kat says

    “Just because you have a valid green card doesn’t exempt you from deportation even without a criminal charge.” Examples please. If you’re going to make a charge as serious as this then you need to give valid examples otherwise you are fearmongering.

    ” I’ve even read a story about a naturalized citizen that got his US Citizenship stripped from him but this was an rare and extreme case that had to do with terrorism. ”

    Yeah- that kinda makes sense that his naturalization would be stripped from him cause, you know, terrorism.

    • The Laounge says

      This isn’t fear mongering as my friend was trying to tell me. This is factual cases to let anyone who might be affected be aware. Regarding the person with stripped citizenship was from an article I read online roughly 5-10 years ago. He was a middle eastern immigrant who became a naturalized citizen then became radicalized and committed some terrorist act unsure on US or Foreign soil, arrested, Went to court found guilty stripped of his citizenship and deported back to his place of birth. I wish I can find the article but I cant. This only highlights things regarding “CHANGE” which Lao people don’t grasp that well. Me and my friends had this same conversation a couple years ago and the phrase you always heard ” Laos don’t take people back” well now we come to learn they have taken people back just not in high numbers and still not determined if those were visa overstay’s or refugees with criminal convictions. Now with the US issuing visa sanctions , most officials realize they cant let the gravy from stopping the flow and sooner or later they will cave in. Trust me I ain’t new to any of the shit that is going on now. I know a couple Cambodians that got deported and have always warned my friends nothing stays the same, prepare for change.

      • you’re using a example of a actual radicalized immigrant that did some type of terrorism and seem to want to make it sound a reasonable example like it’s common. it’s not and you are being ridiculous.

        most of you are saying they shouldn’t deport anyone even criminals. now i understand minor crimes, but most of you are hell bent on no deportations not matter what the crime.

        first of all that’s insane. you think it’s okay to be a terrorist or a murder, or a rapists and stay in america? i’ll agree minor crimes should relooked at, if no harm, like minor drugs or something small, give them a appeal if they seem to be bettering their lives and good citizens again. but i will not defend a terrorist, a murder, a rapist, some other violent or horrible crime no matter what the race, lao or otherwise. if you want to defend and keep those people. let them live in your neighborhood, better yet, turn your house into a rehabilitation home for them and see how well your family and community does with a influx of terrorist, murders, rapists, and violent criminals.

        none of that talk is reasonable, it is in fact fear mongering. yes there are some unfair deportations, but it is much easier and better to work on helping the unfair cases than it is to say “no deportations at all even when they deserve it, lets just keep the terrorists and violent criminals as well”

      • Kat says

        No one here is arguing that Laos is not taking people back or that things don’t change. Laos is being pressured to take back CRIMINALS!!! I’ll say it one more time – CRIMINALS!!! Were the deported Cambodians you spoke of CRIMINALS!!? Did they commit a CRIME!!?

        You are fear mongering if you’re telling people that they can be deported for no reason at all.You are fear mongering if you are essentially telling people to be afraid- continue to be a victim- instead of taking control of the their lives and the situation. Just like all the political articles on this website- continually telling people to be afraid and continue to be the victim.

        Being afraid and spreading fear will not help anyone.It’s the same gossipy behavior that has defined Lao people forever and solves nothing. It’s better to tell people that yes, they have control over their lives and take control of the situation.

  4. The Laounge says

    Who is afraid and spreading fear, all the information I have spread to my friends that this might affect realize whats going on I just advised to read up and stay aware. There is no fear here. No victimization here. I think this website is going a good job in provide accurate info along with providing links to other websites with straight to the source information. When you say “criminals” that is defined as anyone who has committed and has been convicted and processed through the system it still doesn’t state what type of crime. Major or minor. Not here to argue about real criminals should be deported. An online reading from years ago had a story about a Cambodian guy in Houston,TX who was arrested for” public exposure “while urinating behind some building which was near a public residence. He was still a green card holder and of course he went through the system and eventually ended up getting deported. I bring up things like that as examples on how there are flaws in immigration and justice system but don’t be all afraid and you cant do this and that. Be aware of your situation and how you carry yourself and keep the rule of thumb just don’t get caught up in the system and get your citizenship if you are eligible. That’s sharing with my community not gossiping which so many Lao people get all worked up over for no reason.

    • these are the comments from llotp

      “Little Laos Editorial Board and its mother org, The SEAD Project, condemns the latest level of aggression from the Trump administration against Laos and refugees and immigrants from Laos.”

      “While this impacts Lao governmental officials who may be traveling to the US, the announcement incites unnecessary fear and completely fails to inform communities that this policy implication will impact Lao, Hmong and other ethnic groups from Laos who came as refugees with permanent status and had criminal convictions that they’ve already served time for and that this can also include those who are undocumented or simply have expired green cards that they were unaware of– which are all grounds for deportation.”

      this is chandia’s response

      “We can’t forget that these are our families, friends and neighbors who came as refugees and immigrants to escape the dire conditions in Southeast Asia of America’s war at the time, and have been living here for decades contributing to the social, cultural and economic fabric of America. This is their home now. And they are humans, too. We should do everything in our power to work with our community members in amplifying their stories and keeping families together. This will only exacerbate and strain US-Laos relations,”

      they first blame trump, even though most of these deportations were issued 20 years ago under democratic presidents, trump is just the first president that wants to fairly enforce laws.

      it’s funny they mention this action “incites unnecessary fear” then continue to incite unnecessary fear by being vague in some places and glossing over others. they barely mention criminals, when in fact the only people being deported are criminals. they mention many did their time to make it seem unfair. but don’t acknowledge that crime is bad and many crimes should revoke your citizenship. and that deporting violent criminals is a good thing. they never mention deporting anyone is sometimes necessary or good.

      chandia’s response doesn’t even acknowledge criminals exist and they are the ones getting deported. you have the editor or owner or what ever she is from the blog saying refugees are apart of american and shouldn’t be deported. refugees aren’t getting deported, criminals are. she is purposely misrepresenting the issue and fear mongering. it’s nice she corrects it in other places. but she is absolutely pushing this fearful narrative that refugees should be afraid of trump because he is deporting innocent refugees. none of that is true. she and her blog or who ever edits/publishes this is absolutely guilty of fear mongering, lying, and misrepresenting facts. they just happen to throw in some truth in there. which all the best lairs do. but you can’t say some truth then go on to lie for the rest of the article.

      you are the same. you take some truths and misrepresent them. focusing on the unreasonable facts to support your unreasonable opinions. you nitpick extreme examples and try to use that as evidence against everyone. you pick a actual terrorist and some guy getting arrested for peeing outside and try to use that as evidence innocent people will get deported. yes sometimes people get deported unfairly. but you can’t try to scare everyone into anti deportation. you know how many people die from vending machines every year? should we start protesting vending machines to save lives? you can’t take extreme cases and represent it as the norm to trick people into supporting your narrative or cause. it’s dishonest. of course you aren’t here to argue about real criminals being deported, because that would mess up your narrative of anti deportation. refusing to admit that would damage your narrative that no one should be deported. you want to pretend all deportations are unfair and innocent people that “did their time” or were minor offenses.

      i acknowledge both major and minor crimes and have a answer for both. you ignore major and pretend everyone is minor to force your narrative and scare everyone into agreeing with you. your side seems to be the ones unwilling to bend or negotiate. who is being unreasonable here?

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