SANTA ANA, Calif. — Vietnamese immigrants have filed a lawsuit alleging U.S. authorities are rounding them up for deportation even though the Vietnamese government has not agreed to take them back.
The detainees’ lawyers on Wednesday said the arrests are potentially indefinite since Vietnam has only agreed to repatriate deportees who arrived in the United States after the two countries renewed diplomatic relations in 1995.
The attorneys say they believe the U.S. is arresting deportees who came to the country before that date to pressure Vietnam to change a decade-old bilateral repatriation agreement and accept more deportees.
Lawyers say about 45 immigrants are in this situation and as many as 10,000 Vietnamese immigrants have deportation orders.
The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court in Southern California.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined comment.