Gov. Evers asks Trump administration to reconsider Hmong deportations

State Sen. Roger Roth (front row center) at an event honoring veterans at Long Cheng Marketplace in Appleton in January 2020. Roth supports a bill to create a Hmong-Lao Veterans Day in Wisconsin to honor their sacrifices (WBAY photo)

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Gov. Tony Evers is asking the Trump administration to reconsider a policy that could result in deporting Hmong refugees living in Wisconsin.

The governor sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, saying the potential deportation could impact hundreds of people living in Wisconsin.

He wrote, "Wisconsin is the proud home to nearly one-fifth of Hmong people living in the U.S. These nearly 50,000 Hmong Wisconsinites are our neighbors, family members, and veterans. They have long been an important part of Wisconsin's fabric and economy."

He also wrote that Laos has a history of human rights violations (read the complete letter below).

We reported earlier this week the White House was in talks with the Laos government about returning Hmong refugees. The order could affect 4,500 Hmong nationwide who do not have U.S. citizenship, have deportation orders or committed crimes.

Sen. Ron Johnson says he's urging the president to treat Hmong communities fairly.

Kou Vang, a refugee and president of the Hmong American Partnership in Appleton called the proposal "inhumane" and said it's striking fear among refugees in Northeast Wisconsin.

Complete text of Gov. Evers' letter to Secretary Pompeo

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

I am writing regarding your recent meeting with the Lao People's Democratic Republic's Foreign Minister and the Trump Administration's negotiation of a potential agreement that could result in the deportation of Hmong and Lao U.S. residents.

Our state has a rich history of opening its doors to people of all backgrounds, experiences, and walks of life. Wisconsin is the proud home of nearly one-fifth of Hmong people living in the U.S. These nearly 50,000 Hmong Wisconsinites are our neighbors, family members, and veterans. They have long been an important part of Wisconsin's fabric and economy.

Many Hmong people living in Wisconsin came here as refugees seeking asylum. As you know, Laos has a history of human rights violations. The Trump Administration's veiled negotiations are sowing fear into Hmong communities across Wisconsin. According to reports, hundreds living in Wisconsin could be affected. The potential deportation of Hmong Wisconsinites is yet another example of your administration's problematic disposition and policies toward refugee and immigrant populations. I urge you to reconsider and reiterate my opposition to any agreement that results in the deportation of Hmong people living in Wisconsin.

Sincerely,
Tony Evers
Governor, State of Wisconsin