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Evers Calls On Trump Administration To Halt Negotiations On Hmong Deportations

State Department Looking To Send Some US Residents To Laos

Tony Evers, 2019
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers speaks during an interview during the National Governors Association 2019 winter meeting in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 23, 2019. Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo

Gov. Tony Evers is calling on the U.S. State Department to reconsider negotiations that would allow the U.S. to deport Hmong residents to Laos.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Evers, a Democrat, said that negotiations between the Trump administration and the government of Laos “are sowing fear into Hmong communities across Wisconsin.”

The negotiations are around a repatriation agreement that would allow the U.S. to more easily deport Lao residents in the U.S. who aren’t citizens and who have committed crimes or have deportation orders against them.

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The proposal could reportedly affect more than 4,500 Hmong and Lao U.S. residents who have historically been safe from deportation because of a long record of human rights violations against the Hmong by the Communist government of Laos.

Many Lao citizens in the U.S. are Hmong. The agreement would not apply to U.S. citizens.

Evers letter says that he opposes “any agreement that results in the deportation of Hmong people living in Wisconsin.”

“The potential deportation of Hmong Wisconsinites is yet another example of your administration’s problematic disposition and policies toward refugee and immigrant populations,” Evers said.

Asked for comment on the negotiations earlier this week, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to WPR that the administration is calling on Laos to accept deported U.S. residents, and said that “the U.S. government is funding a reintegration program in Laos for those who need extra assistance.”

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