Media Advisory: TOMORROW: An Thanh Nguyen, Vietnamese Refugee, To File Claim Against ICE for Human Rights Violations

Written by VietRISE

March 8, 2022

Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Allison Vo,
Lande Watson,

TOMORROW: An Thanh Nguyen, Vietnamese Refugee, To File Claim Against ICE for Human Rights Violations
As movement in California grows to end prison-to-ICE detention pipeline and keep families together, An Thanh Nguyen and his family will announce new steps to hold ICE accountable 

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – A year after the Biden Administration deported 33 Vietnamese refugees, An Thanh Nguyen, VietRISE, and Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus will hold a virtual press conference on March 8, 2022 at 10 AM to announce a new claim to hold ICE accountable for human rights violations committed by its officers who arrested An in direct violation of a court order.  

An, a Vietnamese refugee, came to southern California with his family as a teenager, fleeing violence as a direct result of U.S. intervention. Facing poverty, struggling to adapt in a new country, and experiencing anti-Asian racism and bullying, An committed several robberies. While incarcerated for 20 years, he worked to turn his life around. Still, after An earned release in 2019, California’s state prison system voluntarily transferred him to ICE.

ICE released An in 2019 because Viet Nam would not accept him for deportation, only to cruelly re-detain him twice. In March 2020, ICE re-detained An for a month before a federal judge ordered his release due to the threat posed by COVID-19 in detention centers, especially for people like An with a medical vulnerability. But in July 2020, ICE re-detained An yet again in flagrant violation of the judge’s order. An is now presenting a claim to ICE demanding reparations for the harm ICE inflicted on him.  

Since his release, An has returned to his family in Cypress and his broader community in Orange County but is still threatened with deportation to Viet Nam. Community members, advocates, and local elected officials have come together to support An and are calling on Governor Newsom to pardon An, which would prevent his deportation. An’s new claim against ICE comes as communities across the state are calling on the California State Senate and Governor Newsom to pass and sign the VISION Act (AB 937) and end California’s voluntary practice of transferring immigrants and refugees who have earned their release to ICE.


  • An Thanh Nguyen
  • Vivian Nguyen, An’s sister
  • Jenny Zhao, Senior Staff Attorney at the Asian Law Caucus
  • Thai Viet Phan, Santa Ana Councilmember 
  • Allison Vo, Organizing Coordinator at VietRISE

When: March 8, 10 AM – 11 AM

Where: Online via Zoom (RSVP: and Facebook Live (

Background on ICE Transfers and the VISION Act (AB 937) 

Hundreds of Southeast Asian Americans like An face deportation despite serving their sentences and a 2008 agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam that excludes Vietnamese nationals who arrived here before July 12, 1995, from being deported. 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 year, California legislators are considering a landmark bill, the VISION Act (AB 937), which would keep immigrant families like An’s together, help people in their transformation journeys, and end California’s practice of transferring immigrants to ICE after they have served their time. A majority of California voters support ending the double punishment of immigrant Californians and stopping transfers of Californians to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to a poll from the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at University of California San Diego. 

The VISION Act is supported by  California’s Democratic Party, the Black Legislative Caucus, Latino Legislative Caucus, and the API Legislative Caucus and over 180 organizations including Black Lives Matter-California, several key labor unions and federations, and numerous Jewish organizations and rabbis. Several city and county governments are also backing the bill, as are the District Attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco Counties. The Alliance for Boys and Men of Color estimates that transfers to ICE of people eligible for release from local jails alone cost $7.3 million dollars in 2018 to 2019


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VietRISE advances social justice and builds power with working-class Vietnamese and immigrant communities in Orange County. We build leadership and create systemic change through organizing, narrative change, cultural empowerment, and civic engagement.

VietRISE is fiscally sponsored by Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


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