MADISON (WKOW) -- A local organization that works to empower low income communities of color shared on Wednesday how a plan to deport Hmong people will impact them.
Wisconsin is home to 49,000 Hmong people, according to U.S. Census Data. In the 1970s after the Vietnam War, the first Hmong residents arrived as refugees.
The push from President Donald Trump’s administration to deport Hmong refugees is devastating families and local communities in the Dane County area.
The Director of Freedom Inc., Kazbuag Vaj said she is worried about her family who has final orders of deportation.
“As someone who has relatives and loved ones with final orders of deportation, I’m directly impacted and as a small community in Madison or throughout the state of Wisconsin, we are going to be directly impacted, even if it’s just 300 people being deported,” Vaj said.
Vaj mentioned that if Hmong people are deported to Laos, many of them do not have family over there.
“There would be definite devastation and hardship for those who are being deported and we feel here at Freedom Inc. that deportation is a life sentence,” Vaj said.
A new agreement between the United States and Lao governments allow the U.S. to deport Hmong people who are not citizens or who have been convicted of certain crimes, according to Wausau Daily Herald.
Vaj believes that these individuals have served their time and that many of them have become good citizens who contribute to the community.
“I think it’s important that people know that we're regular people who have contributed back to the community. And in fact, our families have the right to stay together. And that deportation separates families,” Vaj said.
While this can be a hard time for families, Vaj said Freedom Inc. is determined to help communities fight deportations of their loved ones or for themselves by providing resources and local legal services.