Humane Deterrence Cannot Stop The Refugee Crisis

Release Date
April 28, 2021


History Immigration Liberty

Since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, the Vietnamese immigrant population in the United States has grown significantly, from about 231,000 in 1980, to nearly 1.3 million in 2012. The surge happened mostly during the 1980s and 1990s.

Hear from Vietnamese refugee, Viet Tran, who talks about his past struggles with fleeing his country in search for a better life. We go back to 1980. “

People will escape no matter what, as long as the government is harsh on their people.” – Viet Tran

This video answers the following questions: How does government impact the lives of the ones they govern? How do borders impact the people that they divide? What does a life without freedom, justice, and democracy really look like?

VIET: People will escape no matter what, as long as the Vietnamese government is harsh on their people. They can not live with it, they must find somewhere else to live. Just wanted to go to a country where I can be free. CALVIN: Refugees don’t often talk about their stories. Often times, they’re filled with violence and trauma, and hardships of all kinds. Growing up, my father never really told me about his story, probably because I never asked him, but also because, they don’t want to relive it. I needed to know because I need to know where I come from, and if not that, then really to understand more deeply the issues around us; how governments can impact the lives of the ones they govern, how borders impact the people that they divide. How a life without freedom, and justice, and democracy really looks. VIET: At the beginning, they do not allow people from the previous government to join the army because, the obvious reason, they’re afraid that if they control the guns, they can finish them off. But when the Khmer Rouge took over the border, now they see the need for it. And even though you’re drafted, you will never become a leader in their army. It could be that you go up and train, and get sent to the frontlines. And if you’re killed off, that’s good for them, too. CALVIN: When you said you were drafted, what does that mean? VIET: They come to your house, you get a letter, too, and then you have to go out and get a physical exam. I went to the physical, and then they return back: I’m qualified, ready to go. And I have to present myself at the local office. I didn’t go. Then, a couple days later, at night, they come over and they catch me and put me into the center. —– CALVIN: Thailand was facing waves of refugees coming from many parts of this area; from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. One of their attempts to solve this problem was called “Humane Deterrence,” basically to treat refugees as poorly as possible in order to dissuade them from coming. Of course, like my father said, it’s not morally black-or-white, but somewhere in between. But the logic of “Humane Deterrence” requires that you treat refugees worse here than they would be in their home country. My father is one of those people. Regardless of everything, he knew he had to be free. VIET: At that time, we were just waiting. We don’t know exactly where we will go. And a day came where a bus took us to the Sikiew Refugee Camp. —— VIET: Freedom can be defined in many aspects; “Free from what?” Otherwise, you’d be bounded by it. So, in Vietnam, freedom means you be free from the control of the government. Now, come to the US, now comes freedom; You can pursue your own happiness. Whatever you feel you need to do. That you not be afraid to go forward with it. Just wanted to go to a country where I can be free. #HumaneDeterrence #RefugeeCrisis #FreedomOfMovement

Tags: Vietnam