Congressman Lowenthal Slams Rejected Asylum and Deportation of Vietnamese Activist

October 22, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today issued the following statement on the case of Ha Van Thanh, a Vietnamese activist who, under threat of imprisonment by the communist Vietnamese government, fled Vietnam and sought political asylum in the U.S. His plea for asylum was rejected by U.S. authorities and he was deported back to Vietnam yesterday:

“The case of Mr. Thanh is one that deserved the most serious consideration by our government, not a casual glance. Cases such as his are exactly why we have an asylum process. He is under direct and immediate threat from the government of Vietnam that he fled and where we have returned him.

“I have reached out personally and repeatedly to numerous federal departments in an effort to highlight the danger that awaits Mr. Thanh if he returns to Vietnam.

“Over the past several months since Mr. Thanh’s case first came to my attention, I have spoken with Customs and Border Protection, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and the Department of Justice. I finally reached out directly to President Trump, in a letter with my colleagues Congressmen Lou Correa (CA-46) and Harley Rouda (CA-48), in an effort to have Mr. Thanh’s case given a serious review.

“I remain utterly perplexed by the rigidity and indifference with which this administration continues to treat asylum seekers in general, and particularly, in Mr. Thanh's case, which by all measures is a textbook case of need for asylum. While the fate and wellbeing of Mr. Thanh now rest solely on the shoulders of the Vietnamese government, the Trump Administration bears a large measure of responsibility for this situation due to its callous indifference to people truly in need of our nation’s protection.”