Activist who targeted US immigration ICE director’s home charged


Joe Biden, Miramar, Florida 13 October 2020

Adam Schultz / Biden for President

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Comments by Sanwar Ali:

This shows the depth of feeling that people have against ICE.  Under Donald Trump there have been deep divisions in US society.  Unfortunately, this sort of behaviour as a protest may have serious consequences.  If Biden wins the presidential elections as many expect, perhaps he will be a less divisive president.

An activist who dumped rubbish at the home of acting US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director, Tony Pham, has been charged with misdemeanor offences. Nancy Nguyen reportedly dumped the garbage at Pham’s home while protesting in Virginia with her activist group, VietLead, of which she is the executive director.

Nguyen was part of a protest staged on Pham’s property on September 8, 2020. According to a press release issued by Henrico County police Lieutenant Matt Pecka, ‘a group of demonstrators dumped trash on the yard of the Pham family home, causing fear to the occupants.’

It’s understood that Tony Pham was not at home at the time of the incident.

On October 8, Nguyen was arrested at her home in Philadelphia, but was released a day later following her own recognizance. She was greeted outside the police station by protestors who had gathered demanding her release.

Pham appointed acting ICE director

According to a Facebook post issued by VietLead - a prominent Vietnamese activist group in Philadelphia and New Jersey – on their official page, the group said that the protest at Pham’s home was over his appointed as acting director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

VietLead described Nguyen’s arrest as ‘politically motivated,’ saying that Ms Nguyen’s arrest was a ‘scare tactic to intimidate US immigration rights advocates.’

Pham, a Vietnamese refugee, faced public condemnation from VietLead for taking the role as ICE’s acting director.

The group’s Facebook post said: “Tony Pham continues to use his refugee narrative to justify his qualifications to lead an institution that continues to enact state-sanctioned violence against Black and Brown communities.”

“Nancy publicly spoke out in condemnation of Tony Pham and ICE’s guilty conscience as a representative of a broader Vietnamese and Southeast Asian community unified against all forms of state violence,” the post said.

Pham joined ICE earlier in 2020 as the agency’s head prosecutor and was appointed as acting director in August following the departure of former acting chief, Matt Albence. Under the Trump administration, the director role at ICE has only been filled in an acting capacity.

Following his appointment, Tracy La, the executive director of the California-based VietRISE, told NBC Asian America the following:

“Trump appointing a refugee as the head of an agency that consistently violates the rights of refugees is a tactic commonly used to divide our communities.”

Pham’s appointment has led to animosity toward him from the Vietnamese community in the US, who feel that he is ‘part of Trump’s anti-immigrant system.’

Commenting on Pham’s new role, the vice president of public affairs for OCA–Asian Pacific American Advocates (AAPI), Roland Hwang, said: “We hope Mr. Pham will remember his refugee roots, and Vietnamese American immigrant community, to counteract the Trump administration's anti-immigrant agenda.”

Nguyen charged

Despite her release from police custody, Nguyen has since been charged with ‘entering a privately-owned property, interfering with property rights and dumping garbage,’ said Pecka. In his press release, Pecka said: “While protesting is a protected First Amendment activity, doing so on one’s private property is illegal.” can help with US employment-based visas

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