Protesters with face masks hold signs at a rally.

LA Times Op-Ed: Vietnamese refugees who’ve served prison time unjustly face deportation. That must change

Check out this must-read opinion editorial published in the LA Times on April 7, 2021, written by Thai Viet Phan, Santa Ana’s first Vietnamese American city council member. Read the op-ed below. Vietnamese language version coming soon. We thank Council member Phan for working with us on this op-ed and for her strong support and dedication to defending immigrant and refugee communities from detention and deportation. 

We urge Governor Gavin Newsom and members of the California legislature to take the right step forward and help end anti-Asian and anti-immigrant violence by pardoning refugee An Nguyen and passing AB 937 – the VISION Act!

Protesters with face masks hold signs at a rally.

A protest is held in Orange County’s Little Saigon on March 14, the day before ICE deported about 33 Vietnamese immigrants to Vietnam. (Courtesy of Tim Phan)


Like me, An Thanh Nguyen is a Vietnamese refugee. We both came here as children. After a life largely spent in Santa Ana, I became the city’s first Vietnamese American council member last year. Nguyen, whose family lives in nearby Cypress, is facing deportation to Vietnam.

I know all too well the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that confront families and children seeking to rebuild their lives in a foreign land. Like many Vietnamese refugees, Nguyen’s father fought alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam War; he spent four years as a prisoner of war. After Nguyen’s mother fled the country in 1985, her seven children finally joined her in 1990.

While resettling in the U.S., Nguyen — facing poverty, racism and bullying — struggled to fit in and feel at home. He was a young man when his life took a wrong turn, and he committed several robberies. While serving more than 20 years in state prison, he took advantage of programs that could help him turn his life around.

Yet, upon completing his prison sentence in October 2019, he was immediately transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement instead of being released to his family and community or given the opportunity to rebuild his life. He was detained, released, detained again — and was last released a year ago.

However, his nightmare has not ended. Nguyen can be deported at any time for being an immigrant who committed a crime — despite a 2008 agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam that excludes Vietnamese nationals who arrived here before July 12, 1995, from being deported to Vietnam.

More than 2,000 Southeast Asian refugees, including Vietnamese refugees who arrived before 1995, have been deported from the U.S. since 2017. As of 2018, about 8,000 Vietnamese immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age had been impacted by the criminal justice system and the immigration system — both of which can be unforgiving. Nearly 7,700 Vietnamese immigrants currently facing deportation have a criminal conviction.

This detention of immigrants who have already served their prison sentences is known as “double punishment.” Even though Nguyen is no longer in ICE detention, he still wakes up every day unsure whether he will be deported to Vietnam. ICE can choose at any moment to expel him from the U.S., and only a pardon from Gov. Gavin Newsom can prevent that from happening.  

Newsom must immediately use his executive power to pardon Nguyen, who is among the thousands of immigrants who continue to face potential deportation to a country most have not seen since they were children.

And once AB 937 makes its way through the state Legislature, Gov. Newsom must sign it into law. The bill, [otherwise known as the VISION Act and] introduced in February, would protect immigrants who have been deemed eligible for release from being transferred from state prisons and local jails to ICE detention. Leading Asian American organizations such as VietRISE and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-California have made clear that this bill is needed to prevent immigrants like Nguyen from being unjustly transferred to ICE detention after completing their jail or prison sentences.

My November election to the City Council in Santa Ana — which has one of the nation’s largest immigrant communities — came after years of attacks on immigrant and refugee communities by the Trump administration, which increased Southeast Asian detainment and deportations by ICE by more than 100% across the country. I am the representative for Ward 1, which has Santa Ana’s largest population of Vietnamese residents, and my constituency has been especially hurt by these attacks.

Despite the Biden administration’s promises to do better by our country’s Asian immigrant communities, ICE deported about 33 Vietnamese immigrants and refugees to Vietnam on March 15. A day before the flight departed, protesters in Westminster Park chanted, “Deporting Vietnamese refugees is anti-Asian violence.” I agree. 

The continued deportation of victims of war and of immigrants and refugees is not only wrong but also unconscionable and cruel. The country cannot continue to perpetuate this hateful, inhumane practice.

Thai Viet Phan is a member of the Santa Ana City Council. Her letter to Gov. Newsom in support of An Thanh Nguyen’s pardon can be found here. A petition in support of Nguyen can be found here.

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PRESS RELEASE: Vietnamese Refugee, Tin Nguyen, is Released from Adelanto ICE Detention Center

Monday, September 28, 2020

CONTACT: Tracy La,

Vietnamese Refugee, Tin Nguyen, is Released from Adelanto ICE Detention Center

The public and legal campaign to release Vietnamese Refugee Tin Nguyen from the Adelanto ICE Detention Center, after being incarcerated for 22 years and detained by ICE for 9 months, successfully brings Tin home to his family and loved ones.

ORANGE COUNTY, CAOn Monday afternoon, Vietnamese refugee Tin Nguyen was released from the Adelanto ICE Detention Facility and reunited with his family after 22 years of incarceration and 9 months in ICE Detention. Less than two weeks ago, a public campaign was launched to #BringTinHome to coincide with the filing of a habeas petition for Tin’s release. 

An outpouring of support from across the county and country that consisted of calls to ICE, over 600 community petition signatures, and a press conference that consisted of speakers including Tin’s three sisters and mother, Congress members Lou Correa and Alan Lowenthal, Santa Ana Council Member Vicente Sarmiento, immigration attorney Sabrina Rivera from CARECEN, and Vietnamese-American advocacy group VietRISE all came together to demand ICE release Tin and bring him home.

“I am just too excited and all I can say is finally. Tin worked so hard and long to come home. We all worked so hard together with him and now he’s coming home,” said Tin’s youngest sister, Thuy Nguyen. “Our 84-year old mother can now live the rest of her life peacefully knowing her son is home with her after being apart for 22 years.”

Tin Nguyen is a Vietnamese refugee who immigrated to the U.S. as a child. He served 22 years of incarceration due to mistakes he made as a youth. He transformed his life while incarcerated and was granted a commutation by Governor Brown in 2018 to give him a second chance to rejoin his community. He was granted parole in 2019 but instead of coming home to his family, Tin was detained by ICE.

“Every day that ICE continued to detain Tin, they were violating his constitutional right to due process, detaining him far past the legal limit that forbids indefinite civil detention, and neglecting his medical conditions as someone who is at increased risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Ben Seelig and Alex Duran, Tin’s pro bono attorneys from O’Melveny & Myers LLP. “We filed a habeas corpus petition on Tin’s behalf to force the government to explain their justification for Tin’s cruel and inhumane detention.”

“I am glad that Tin was released by ICE earlier today and is back with his family. Like many youth in the Vietnamese diaspora, Tin was only a child when he came to the U.S. in 1979. He faced numerous difficulties while trying to learn English and assimilating to his new home. Growing up, he made some bad decisions, but he has paid his debt to society,” said Congressman Lou Correa (CA-46). “Ultimately, Tin learned from his mistakes, and took steps to change his life. I am excited to see what he makes of this opportunity and overjoyed that he can finally return home to his loved ones.”

“I was proud to lead a letter to the Acting Secretary of DHS advocating for Mr. Nguyen’s immediate release and I am glad that he can now return to his family and his life. He should never have been taken into custody after his parole. Tin and his family have fought for years for him to come home,” said Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47). “I am inspired by the legal advocacy and outpouring of community support that have made his release possible.”


Joint Statement from Refugee Communities to New Head of ICE Tony Pham

For Immediate Release
Friday, September 4, 2020

PDF Version Here

Allison Vo, VietRISE,
Rhenie Dalger, FANM,
Armando Carmona, CARECEN-LA,

The following statement by groups from Vietnamese, Central American, and Haitian refugee communities, was released in response to the Trump administration announcement that Tony Pham, a refugee who arrived in the US in 1975, will lead ICE.  

On Tuesday, September 8, the groups will host a zoom press conference with voices from across the country (RSVP here: 

Today, we raise our voices as refugees and the descendants of refugees – from Viet Nam, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala; as organizations that have grown and persevered alongside refugee communities throughout the US; and as witnesses of the wretched treatment of our refugee sisters and brothers from around the world by the Trump administration, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and by ICE.  

First, far from a sign of good will, refugee communities see the political stunt for what it really is:  another divisive tactic to provide much-needed political cover for the Trump administration’s xenophobic ideology.  Trump highlighting a government official’s refugee background, after years of showing nothing but contempt and hatred for refugees, is obviously incongruent.  It’s a familiar political routine used by nativist politicians to divide our communities.

Second, we know representation alone does not equal justice for refugees or migrants.  Pham’s refugee background does not absolve him from his most relevant work experience, serving as principal legal advisor for ICE, as the rogue agency was weaponized against undocumented workers and Black Lives Matter protestors.  During his tenure and in the midst of the pandemic, ICE’s management of immigration detention centers exacerbated a public health crisis, with spikes in cases, unsanitary conditions, use of toxic chemicals against refugees and migrants, and continued deportations.  As long as the Trump administration’s agenda is guided by white nationalist hate groups, the nominal head of ICE will have an impossible time addressing the racism and myriad human rights violations committed in the name of “homeland security.”  

For these reasons, we will not allow refugees to be utilized as pawns for political gain.  We denounce the terror sown by ICE in our communities, the existence of migrant prison camps, and the dismantling of asylum protections that has resulted in over 60 thousand asylum seekers blocked from even reaching their loved ones or relatives in the US.  We implore Pham to truly honor his refugee background and bring human rights home for all immigrants and refugees today. 

What does it mean to “bring human rights home”? For starters, if Pham has any loyalty left to refugee families that are living through what his own family and Vietnamese families lived through 45 years ago –  he will take strong steps to protect refugees by announcing:  (a.) the release of all those detained in ICE’s migrant prison camps and their immediate closures, (b.) a halt to all deportations during the pandemic, (c.) work to guarantee protections for TPS and DACA holders before January 4, 2021, and (d.) an end to ICE collusion with hate groups.  To do otherwise would mean turning his back on refugees and siding with the xenophobic, racist worldview that questions our very presence and seeks to make us disappear entirely from this country.  

Delivered on behalf of – 

VietRISE – Orange County, California

Family Action Network Movement (FANM) – Miami, Florida

CARECEN-LA – Los Angeles, California

SEAC Village – Charlotte, North Carolina

Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees – Brooklyn, New York

VietLead – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Palestinian Youth Movement – Los Angeles, Orange County, Inland Empire, California

Comunidad Colectiva – Charlotte, North Carolina 

Haitian Bridge Alliance – Aliso Viejo, California

National Day Laborer Organizing Network – Pasadena, California

Orange County Justice Fund – Orange County, California

WeCount! – Homestead, Florida

Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition – Long Beach, California

Koreatown Popular Assembly – Los Angeles, California

CLUE – Los Angeles, California

Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign – New York, New York

Southeast Asian Defense Project – New York, New York

Japanese American Citizens League – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) – Washington, D.C.

Tsuru for Solidarity – Seattle, Washington

Asian Americans United – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Khmer Anti-Deportation Advocacy Group (KhAAG) – Seattle, Washington

Southeast Asian Freedom Network

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center – Washington, D.C.

Mekong NYC – Bronx, New York

Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) – Los Angeles, California

Joint statement from Santa Ana City Council Member Vicente Sarmiento and VietRISE on Recent Incidents that Created Harm in the Vietnamese Community

September 3, 2020
View PDF here
Contact: Allison Vo,; Office of Council Member Vicente Sarmiento: 714-647-5214

Below is a joint statement from Santa Ana City Council Member Vicente Sarmiento and Vietnamese American community group VietRISE on recent incidents that created harm and division in the Vietnamese Community in Orange County.

In addition, VietRISE Executive Director Tracy La shared the following message regarding these events to the Voice of OC on Tuesday, September 2, which read:

“It’s clear that neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party as it currently stands today in OC understand the nuances of our history and our experiences, and they continue to simplify us in a pro- or anti-communist dichotomy. Our elected leaders need to stop using our trauma and the history of violence that we still face today as a result of the war merely as simplified political chess pieces to win their elections or to harm each other’s parties. If congressional representatives and local elected officials really cared about the Vietnamese community, they should be equally loud about enacting things like rent control in their communities, defunding immigration enforcement, condemn the OC Sheriff Department’s complicity with Trump’s ICE regime, and ensure that working families and small businesses are protected during this unprecedented health crisis”

‘OC Democratic Leader’s Praise for Ho Chi Minh Sends Little Saigon Into Uproar’, Voice of OC (Sept 2, 2020) // Link

SANTA ANA, CAFrom Santa Ana Council Member Vicente Sarmiento: “I have proudly represented many Vietnamese Americans in my role as a member of the Santa Ana City Council since 2007.  Through the relationships I built with Vietnamese residents in the city,  I know that Vietnamese Americans have endured a painful history and prolonged trauma as a result of the war in Vietnam and their settlement in the United States.

I’m deeply saddened by the ill-advised remarks made earlier this week by a member of the Democratic Party of Orange County and all of the subsequent statements from leaders from both the Republican and Democratic Party that have reopened old wounds for many Vietnamese Americans.  I condemn all comments that are insensitive and highly offensive towards any community, and in this case, these statements harmed members of the Vietnamese community.  I commit to continue learning about the histories and experiences of Vietnamese residents and engaging directly with them in order to better understand and serve our residents.

I am joining with Vietnamese residents from community group VietRISE, a nonprofit community organization that works with residents in our city and the Little Saigon community to share this message: I implore us all to not use this incident to advance an agenda that does not center what Vietnamese residents are saying they need from us as elected officials in Orange County today, especially in the middle of a public health crisis.  We have a collective obligation as a society to be more thoughtful in our comments.  Consequently, we must demand that our leaders be held to a higher standard when using their platforms in the public square.”

From VietRISE: “We appreciate Council member Sarmiento for listening to Vietnamese residents and centering our voices as members of the community and the issues we are facing. Our elected leaders need to stop using our trauma for political gain, and to instead use their platforms and collective voices to commit to uplifting the socio-economic issues impacting working class Vietnamese residents everyday. These include enacting affordable housing, rent control, protections for immigrants, and protecting working class residents impacted by COVID-19. This is exactly the areas of change that many Vietnamese residents have said they need from our leaders in the city and across Orange County.”

Tuyên Bố Của VieRISE Về Việc Người Tị Nạn Việt Nam Cũ Mới Được Bổ Nhiệm Làm Giám Đốc Cơ Quan Thực Thi Di Trú Và Hải Quan (ICE)

English: Tại Đây
Thứ Ba, Ngày 25 Tháng 8, Năm 2020
Liên Lạc: Vincent Tran, 

Tuyên Bố Của VieRISE Về Việc Người Tị Nạn Việt Nam Cũ Mới Được Bổ Nhiệm Làm Giám Đốc Cơ Quan Thực Thi Di Trú Và Hải Quan (ICE)
Nếu Phạm còn lòng trung thành với người tị nạn, Pham sẽ bắt đầu bằng việc tuyên bố đóng cửa các trại tù di cư của ICE

Little Saigon, Quận Cam, California – Hôm thứ Ba, chính quyền Tổng Thống Trump thông báo rằng họ đã chọn Tony Phạm, một cựu người tị nạn từ Việt Nam đến Hoa Kỳ năm 1975, để đảm nhận vị trí giám đốc Cơ quan Thực thi Di trú & Hải quan (ICE). Để đáp lại lời bổ nhiệm của Phạm, Tracy La, Giám đốc Điều hành của VietRISE, đã đưa ra lời tuyên bố sau:

“Với tư cách là những người nhập cư và con cái của những người tị nạn Việt Nam, chúng tôi biết rằng nếu chỉ xét về tính đại diện thì không thể bình đẳng công lý. Đối với Pham là một người tị nạn Việt Nam không có nghĩa Pham sẽ là lãnh đạo ICE và đối xử với những người nhập cư và người tị nạn bằng phẩm giá và tôn vinh các quyền con người mà họ đáng được hưởng.

“Với tư cách là một tổ chức giới trẻ và vận động của người Việt trong cộng đồng người Việt lớn nhất tại Hoa Kỳ, đứng đầu là những thanh niên đã chứng kiến ​​nỗi kinh hoàng do ICE gieo rắc ở Little Saigon, California, chúng tôi khẩn cầu Phạm hãy nhớ đến lai lịch xuất thân tị nạn của mình và làm điều đúng đắn bằng cách tôn vinh quyền con người của tất cả những người nhập cư và tị nạn.

“Nếu Phạm còn lòng trung thành với những người tị nạn, Pham ta sẽ bắt đầu bằng việc tuyên bố đóng cửa các trại tù di cư của ICE, tạm dừng mọi hoạt động trục xuất trong thời kỳ đại dịch, chấm dứt sự thông đồng của ICE với các nhóm thù địch và ngay lập tức thả tất cả những người nhập cư đang bị giam giữ. Làm theo cách khác có nghĩa là anh ta quay lưng lại với những người tị nạn và đứng về phía một cơ quan chính phủ bất hảo vốn chỉ cho thấy mình là mối đe dọa trong cộng đồng của chúng ta.”

Thông báo này được đưa ra giữa cuộc khủng hoảng Đại Dịch COVID-19 tại các trung tâm giam giữ người nhập cư, nơi ICE đã không cung cấp cho người nhập cư sự chăm sóc bảo vệ thích hợp, dẫn đến hơn 1.000 trường hợp dương tính của dịch COVID-19 và dẫn đến cái chết của 19 người. Ngoài ra, vào đầu tháng 8, ICE đã trục xuất 30 người nhập cư Việt Nam đến Việt Nam, 12 người trong số họ bị trục xuất mặc dù đã có thỏa thuận giữa Hoa Kỳ và Việt Nam rằng không có người nhập cư Việt Nam nào định cư tại Hoa Kỳ trước tháng 7 năm 1995 sẽ bị trục xuất.

VietRISE nhẳm thúc đẩy sự công bằng xã hội và xây dựng nhiều quyền lợi với các cộng đồng người Việt Nam nhập cư và Việt Nam có thu nhập thấp tại Quận Cam. VietRISE đã phát động một chiến dịch kêu gọi các vị dân cử địa phương Việt Nam mang nhân quyền về nước cho những người nhập cư và tị nạn. Để tìm hiểu thêm, hãy vào


VietRISE Statement on Newly Appointed Former Vietnamese Refugee as Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Contact: Allison Vo, 

VietRISE Statement on Newly Appointed Former Vietnamese Refugee as Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
“If Pham has any loyalty left to refugees, he will begin by announcing the closure of ICE’s migrant prison camps”

Little Saigon, Orange County, CA – On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that it has selected Tony Pham, a former refugee from Vietnam who came to the U.S. in 1975, to take over as director of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). In response to Pham’s appointment, Tracy La, Executive Director of VietRISE, issued the following statement:

“As immigrants and children of Vietnamese refugees, we know that representation alone does not equal justice. For Pham to have been a Vietnamese refugee does not mean that he will lead ICE and treat immigrants and refugees with dignity and honor the human rights that they deserve. 

“As a Vietnamese advocacy and youth organization in the largest Vietnamese community in the U.S., led by youth who have witnessed the terror sown by ICE in Little Saigon, California, we implore Pham to remember his refugee background and do the right thing by honoring the human rights of all immigrants and refugees. 

“If Pham has any loyalty left to refugees, he will begin by announcing the closure of ICE’s migrant prison camps, halt all deportations during the pandemic, cease ICE collusion with hate groups, and immediately release all of those in immigrant detention. To do otherwise would mean turning his back on refugees and siding with a rogue government agency that has only shown itself to be a menace in our communities.”

This announcement comes in the middle of a COVID-19 crisis in immigrant detention centers, where ICE has failed to provide immigrants with proper protective care, leading to over 1,000 positive COVID-19 cases and the death of 19 people. In addition, in early August, ICE deported 30 Vietnamese immigrants to Vietnam, 12 of whom were deported despite an agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam that no Vietnamese immigrants who resettled in the U.S. before July 1995 would be deported. 

VietRISE advances social justice and builds power with low-income Vietnamese and immigrant communities in Orange County. VietRISE launched a campaign to call on local Vietnamese officials to bring human rights home for immigrants and refugees. To learn more, visit


Press Release: Cultural Festival in Little Saigon to Celebrate Sanctuary for Immigrants and Refugees

For Immediate Release
PDF Version Here
Sunday, October 20th, 2019

Tracy La, (858) 598-7805 |
SG Sarmiento, (202) 746-2099 |


25 years after Orange County was the birthplace of CA’s proposition 187, a new generation of youth are leading a cross-cultural movement to “bring human rights home” 

Little Saigon, Orange County, CA – On Sunday, October 20th, VietRISE and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) are hosting “We Celebrate Sanctuary Here,” a daylong community festival that will bring Vietnamese, Latino, and immigrant communities together in support of inclusion and solidarity, and in defiance of the re-animated politics of white supremacy.  

“Orange County is changing because of immigrant and refugee communities. We envision a county that is inclusive, that honors our cultures, and that upholds immigrant and human rights for all.” said Tracy La, Executive Director of VietRISE. “We reject the politics of hate and fear that some elected officials in Orange County have promoted and we will not stand by anti-immigrant rhetoric.”

“The power to defeat hate and trumpism won’t come from the top down,” said Salvador Sarmiento, National Campaign Director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “It will come from grassroots organized communities coming together to reaffirm who we all are, to celebrate each other, and to defend our most fundamental civic guarantees. Today’s festival is a call to action, from the bottom of our hearts.”

What:  We Celebrate Sanctuary Here: Community Festival 
When:  Sunday, October 20, 11:00AM – 4:00PM (speakers 1:00-2:00PM) 
Where:  Atlantis Play Center, 13630 Atlantis Way, Garden Grove

This community festival is free and open to the public.  It will bring together art and cultural activities such as a live art installation painting, screen printing, Vietnamese lantern-making, and papel picado (Mexican “pecked paper”).  There will also be live music and performances from OC and LA bands, poets and DJ’s, as well as local immigrant-owned businesses, community organizations and educational resources for immigrant families and youth.

RELEASE: Little Saigon Stands with El Paso: Vigil Against White Supremacy

August 8th, 2019


Tracy La, 858-598-7805,
Hairo Cortes, 657-272-3475,

Little Saigon Stands with El Paso: Vigil Against White Supremacy

“Latinx and Vietnamese communities condemn anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric by local officials that fuels violence against undocumented immigrants.”

Little Saigon, Orange County — On Thursday August 8th, 2019, Latinx and Vietnamese community organizations are holding a vigil to honor the 22 lives lost in El Paso, Texas due to the violence of a white supremacist terrorist. The vigil will take place in the heart of Little Saigon at Freedom Park in Westminster city from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

Organizers of the vigil call on local, state, and federal elected officials in Orange County to condemn white supremacy and anti-immigrant rhetoric as they have remained silent, and worse, have served as a conduit to this worldview. 

“It’s clear that the words of our elected officials impact our community. The anti-immigrant language that Trump uses regularly, whether through tweets or  rallies, fueled the violence and murders committed by the white supremacist in El Paso.” said Tracy La, Executive Director of VietRISE. “That’s why we need our local Orange County officials to condemn white supremacy, and protect human rights instead.”

“Vietnamese and Latinx communities are changing the face of Orange County” said Hairo Cortes, Executive Director of Chispa. “And we often remain isolated from one another, even when we share the same neighborhoods and attend the same schools. Today is a moment to come together and remain together.”


What: Little Saigon Vigil Against White Supremacy

Thursday, August 8th @ 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Freedom Park, 14180 All American Way, Westminster, CA 92682


The Little Saigon community of Orange County includes the cities of Westminster, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Fountain Valley and represents the largest community of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam.  The vigil is being brought together by VietRISE, Chispa, ICE Out of OC and Together We Will Orange County.


Breaking: Little Saigon Protests Demand Local Officials “Bring Human Rights Home”

July 18, 2019
Contact: Tracy La,

Breaking: Little Saigon Protests Demand Local Officials “Bring Human Rights Home”

Watch Live Video:
To see photos, visit:

“Human rights means no racist raids, no migrant concentration camps, and no hate groups”


Little Saigon, California — On Thursday evening, a march through Orange County’s Little Saigon called on local officials to “bring human rights home” for today’s immigrant and refugee communities under attack.  The march through historic Little Saigon denounced Trump’s “racist offensive” and explicitly called out Vietnamese elected officials OC Supervisor Andrew Do, the OC Board of Supervisors, Westminster Mayor Tri Ta, and the Westminster City Council for siding with Trump against immigrants in California. 

“As a community that has lived the refugee experience, that sought sanctuary in a new land, that suffered the violence of anti-immigrant racism, it is our responsibility to fight against this injustice today,” said Kacey Nguyen, long-time Westminster resident, “The deaths of people, the migrant concentration camps, the horrid xenophobia coming from the President’s own mouth, we can no longer be silent – and neither can our elected officials.”

Last year, the OC Board of Supervisors sided with Donald Trump and white nationalist hate group FAIR in an orchestrated attack against California’s Values Act, a state law that limits the use of state resources for immigration enforcement.  Residents are pointing to the OC officials that have yet to take action against Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, including Supervisor Andrew Do, Westminster Mayor Tri Ta and City Council members. 

“Human rights means sanctuary for all of us,” said Niki Nguyen, life-long Westminster resident, “It means no racist raids, no concentration camps, and no white nationalism – it’s time for OC’s elected officials to speak out.” 

The Little Saigon community of Orange County includes the cities of Westminster, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Fountain Valley and represents the largest community of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam.  The march was brought together by VietRISE, VietUnity Southern California, Viet Rainbow of Orange County (VROC), and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), and counts with the support of a broad array of community and civil rights groups.