Irvine, Calif. — As Orange County prepares to hold the largest Tet Festival in the United States, Dave Min penned an op-ed criticizing the Trump administration over its deliberate targeting of Vietnamese immigrants, as well as calling out incumbent Senator John Moorlach for his silence on the issue.
Throughout our country’s history, America has stood as a beacon of hope for those in search of a better life. Our nation’s fundamental and founding promise — that those who come here, work hard, and play by the rules can make a good life for themselves and for their descendants free of tyranny or socially determined castes — has attracted millions of immigrants to our shores, including my own Korean-American parents. These immigrants, whether they came here in 1719 from England or in 2019 from Pakistan, have been the backbone of our country, strengthening and brightening our culture while playing a critical role in creating the most prosperous economy the world has ever known.
But the core foundations of the American Dream are under attack from the Trump administration’s reckless and immoral plan to send back Vietnamese refugees who came here in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and the Communist takeover of that country. The first wave of post-war Vietnamese immigrants came in 1975 through a U.S. government-sponsored evacuation and resettlement program, and many more followed in the 1980s and early 1990s, seeking haven from the torture and “re-education” camps that were so prevalent at that time. These refugees supported the United States in the war and were fearful of persecution because of their allegiances. They put everything on the line to support our country and its values. And hundreds of thousands of them died trying to reach our country.
For decades, as a matter of official U.S. policy, we welcomed these Vietnamese-Americans to our country. Indeed, in 2008, the George W. Bush administration signed an explicit agreement with Vietnam barring the deportation of Vietnamese immigrants who had arrived in our country before 1995. But for some unfathomable reason, Donald Trump and his administration are trying to overturn these policies and target post- Vietnam War refugees for deportation. While many of us were busy preparing for the holiday season, the Trump administration was hard at work on “reinterpreting” U.S. immigration policy to try to find a rationale to expel Vietnamese immigrants from our country.
Min’s SD37 campaign has already assembled a broad coalition of backers, including endorsements from Representatives Judy Chu, Ted Lieu, Alan Lowenthal, Scott Peters; California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus Chair RL Miller; Newport-Mesa Local AFT 1794; Aliso Viejo City Councilwoman Tiffany Ackley; Former Irvine City Councilwoman Mary Ann Gaido; Aliso Viejo Mayor Ross Chun; and Former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang.
David Min is a University of California Irvine Law Professor, father of three, and a former economic policy staffer in the United States Senate and for the Center for American Progress. Min began his legal career at the Securities and Exchange Commission to protect the retirement security of seniors, turning down high paying jobs to serve the public interest. He is a leading expert on banking and housing policy.California State Senate District 37 is located in Orange County and includes the communities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Foothill Ranch, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, Orange, Tustin, and Villa Park.