This year, 2015, marks 40 years since the first Cambodian, Lao, Hmong, Mien, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian refugees began being resettled in the US after more than two decades of US wars in the region. As we reflect on our displacement 40 years ago, we reckon with continuing displacement today in the form of US deportation. In this 40th year, Southeast Asian leadership unites to propose a solution that calls attention to US repatriation agreements with Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
The deep resistance and resilience of our community over the last 40 years brings us to a turning point, where we are called to work together in the fight of our generation...the fight for our families, the fight for our communities, the fight for unity. Today, that means ending further displacement through deportation. We are called by a shared belief that our community’s healing comes from addressing root causes of violence, that we need to end the criminalization of our communities, and that all people, regardless of immigration status or criminal conviction, should remain with their chosen communities.
While we hold people accountable to their actions and harm through survivor-centered processes, we recognize that violence stems from trauma, from poverty caused by devastating economic policies, from war, forced migration, systematically segregated and underfunded communities, institutionalized racism, state violence, and deportation and prison systems that remove people from our communities and break families apart.
As we enter this turning point for our community, we believe with our whole hearts that we have a responsibility to our ancestors, an obligation to our elders, a pact to those lost in the streets and in the system, and a promise to our young people, to end our community’s intergenerational battle with displacement in all its forms. We call for just and fair repatriation agreements that reflect the unique experiences of diaspora communities, that hold participating countries accountable to the impact of deportation on families, that consider the history and conditions of initial displacement, that prioritize the will of the people and the leadership of directly impacted communities, and that are in compliance with international human rights law.
CALL TO ACTION: We call on our family, friends, and allies to sign on to this SEAFN CAMPAIGN SOLIDARITY LETTER, and let us know how you can commit to supporting this movement to end deportation and displacement, and reunite families. SIGN TODAY!