Thursday, October 18, 2007
Twenty-four year old Tam Tran is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants and has consistently spoken out on U.S. immigration reform. On May 17, she appeared before the House Immigration Subcommittee to speak in support of the DREAM Act, which would have granted legal status to children of immigrants who complete at least two years of college.
More recently, a USA Today article on Oct. 8 featured Tran in an article on “children caught in the immigration crossfire”:
Without the DREAM Act, Tam Tran, 24, is a person without a country. The daughter of Vietnamese boat people, Tran was born in Germany, where her parents ended up after the German Navy plucked them out of the sea. The family moved to the USA when Tran was 6. … For now, Tran is permitted to stay — only because the United States has no repatriation treaty with Vietnam. Tran, who has never been to Vietnam, says that “I consider myself a Southern Californian.“
Just three days after the article appeared, federal officers entered her home in the middle of the night and forcibly arrested her family. Tran’s family was detained on a “years-old deportation order,” even though they have been in regular communication with immigration officials for almost 20 years since arriving in the United States.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), chair of the immigration subcommitee, equated the family’s arrest to “witness intimidation” and accused Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials of targeting the Tran family because Tam “testified before Lofgren’s panel earlier this spring.” Earlier this week, USA Today spoke with Lofgren about the Tran family’s arrest:
“Would she and her family have been arrested if she hadn’t spoken out?” Lofgren said of Tran, who was not at home for the raid but has been asked to report to Immigration and Customs officials next week. “I don’t think so.“
Since Bush crony Julie Myers took over ICE, the agency has increasingly become known for its willingness to retaliate against immigrants who publicly discuss their situation in the United States. Arrests have been made after individuals spoke out on everything from immigration reform, to workplace rights, to the right to fair wages, to the right to report crimes without fear of retaliation.
UPDATE: More on the DREAM Act from Migra Matters.