State Rep. Donald Wong is condemning President Joe Biden and Congress for an increase in deportations of Southeastern Asian refugees. (Spenser Hasak)
Local Government and Politics, News

Saugus representative condemns deportations of Southeast Asian refugees

SAUGUS — State Rep. Donald Wong is calling upon the federal government to make a change.

The Saugus Republican was a part of a group of over 60 state Legislature members who are condemning President Joe Biden and Congress for an increase in deportations of Southeastern Asian refugees. 

Forty-four representatives, 15 senators, and the eight members of the Massachusetts House Asian Caucus signed a statement that points out that since 2017 the deportations of Southeast Asians have increased exponentially. According to the statement, 16,000 Southeast Asians have received their final orders of deportation.

Wong is the current chair and founder of the caucus. The ninth district representative believes that, “it is time for our federal government to reexamine the broken wheel we call our immigration system. Racially-based deportations are unacceptable. We are all one, we should all be judged as humans.”

Lawmakers are also concerned about the Department of Homeland Security's attempt to reinterpret a previous agreement with Vietnam and also pointed out that in 2020, Laos was forced to accept more Laotian, Hmong, Mien, Khmu and other ethnic groups from the country for deportation.

The statement from the caucus also points out that many community members facing deportation have started families here in the United States and view the country as their home.

"For many, the United States is the only home that they have known for more than a quarter century, many having lived in refugee camps and never having stepped foot in their country of origin."

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the 2019 American Community Survey, Saugus' Asian population is estimated to make up 3.8 percent of the total town population. Massachusetts actually has the sixth-largest Southeast Asian-American population in the entire country and many of them arrived in the U.S. as refugees after decades of war. 

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