At TV6, we’re currently chronicling the struggles of an 11 person Hmong family in Munising, the Yangs. They’ve lived in this country for about 20 years, they’re well established in Munising with a family restaurant, the Golden Heart, and they want to stay, but six of them are constantly at risk of being deported and being split up.
A little background: The Hmong people are an ethnic Southeast Asian group who are best known in the United States for having fought with American troops during the Vietnam War. They gained a reputation for being fierce warriors, and thousands of them lost their lives in the war.
After the war, many of them fled their native land for fear of retribution from the communist government of Laos where most of them had lived.
The patriarch of the Yang family was one of those fighters who fled his country and came to the United States. Our government welcomed the Hmong because there was a sense that we owed them for their assistance in the war.
Unfortunately, the children of the patriarch were not welcomed, even though they faced persecution if they returned to Laos, so instead they fled to other parts of the world. In the Yangs’ case, it was to France, but they weren’t really welcome there.
They subsequently came to the U.S. for a visit to reunify their family, and they ‘ve been here ever since, but immigration officials have repeatedly told them they are subject to deportation, and their immigration papers are actually stamped “Deported”. Not only that, but the six Yangs who are not citizens here have to make annual visits to Detroit to review their status.
They’re in constant fear that they’ll be deported. France doesn’t want them, the U.S. seemingly doesn’t want them, and if they were returned to Laos after all this time, there’s no telling what might happen to them.
They’re people without a country. But they live here, they work at the restaurant (they can’t work anywhere else because of their uncertain immigration status), their kids attend school here, they go to church here, they’re model citizens.
Many people in Munising have rallied behind their cause.
Here’s hoping that others will join them. Maybe an attorney will offer his or her services to the family? Maybe one of Michigan’s politicians will take up the banner, as well. We’ve contacted Congressman Stupak’s office already. Next on our list are Senators Stabenow and Senator Levin.