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10.26.2007

immigrant family detained after daughter speaks out

The family of Tam Tran, a 24-year-old Vietnamese American college graduate who went to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress to urge changes to U.S. immigration law, was taken into custody earlier this month on suspicion of violating an old deportation order: Immigrant's family detained after daughter speaks out

Back in May, Tran testified before the House immmigration subcommittee on the DREAM Act, which would have allowed undocumented college students who have lived in the U.S. for five years to get legal status. On October 8, she was quoted a USA Today story. Three days later, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents showed up at her family's Garden Grove home and arrested her father, mother and brother, charging them with being fugitives from justice even though the Trans have been reporting to immigration officials annually to obtain work permits.

What's up with that? The timing certainly seems fishy. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the House immigration subcommittee, accused federal officials of "witness intimidation" and believes the Trans were targeted because Tam spoke out. But the Agency claims they had no idea Tam had testified before Congress. Coincidence? I doubt it. The Trans actually have a very complicated immigration history, spanning from Vietnam to Germany to the United States, where they've laid down roots. It looks like their odyssey just got a lot more complicated. More on their story here: Immigrant's family detained after daughter speaks out