PRESS RELEASE: Tony Pham Is Out. But Accountability Requires More Than Resignations

For Immediate Release
December 11, 2020

Viridiana Vidal, NDLON (
Tracy La, VietRISE (

Tony Pham is Out.  But Accountability Requires More Than Resignations

Little Saigon, Orange County, CA – In response to news yesterday that Tony Pham plans to step down as head of ICE, just five short months after he was appointed by Trump, organizations made the following statement: 

“Five months ago, we said it was time to bring human rights home.  Instead Tony Pham chose to promote Trump’s apartheid worldview, and turned his back on refugee communities, here and abroad.  

“ICE’s racist billboards, its thinly-veiled electoral propaganda, the deaths in ICE prison camps, and unlawful targeting of those who spoke out for Migrant Justice and for Black Lives – all happened on his watch.  Tony Pham will not easily wash off the stain of abuse and corruption that he supervised and oversaw.  

“But accountability requires more than resignations.  And on December 10, International Human Rights Day, it’s a good reminder for everyone at ICE that ‘I was just following orders’ is never a valid defense.  And for all of us, it’s an urgent reminder that even after Trump has gone, ICE’s racist infrastructure will still be intact.”  

The statement above was signed by VietRISE, Family Action Network Movement (FANM), CARECEN-LA, SEAC Village, and NDLON.   

As Donald Trump touted Tony Pham’s background as a Vietnamese refugee, a coalition of groups that work with refugee communities, including VietRISE, NDLON, CARECEN-LA, and FANM, released a statement calling out the appointment for what it was:  “…another divisive tactic to provide much-needed political cover for the Trump administration’s xenophobic ideology.”  


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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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