By Alyssa Frierson and Shereen Siewert
The Wausau City Council this week unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Hmong and Lao community and opposing federal deportation of local residents to Laos.
Dist. 10 council member Mary Thao said on Tuesday that five people in Marathon County do have final orders and could be impacted by the Trump administration’s efforts to ramp up deportations to Laos.
According to a Feb. 24 NPR report, the Trump administration is calling on government officials in Laos to accept deportees, offering funding for reintegration in that country. The program is similar to an agreement already reached with Cambodia, NPR reports.
Thao, who has been deeply involved with the issue, urged the council not to let “fear happening at the national level” filter down to the local level.
Wausau is home to more than 4,000 Hmong and Lao residents, according to census figures.
The resolution “strongly opposes the deportation and repatriation of Hmong and Lao residents of Wausau to Laos, as well as deportation of Hmong and Lao refugees throughout the United States which have been issued by the U.S. Federal government,” the document reads.
The city clerk was directed to send copies of the resolution to the Wisconsin Legislature, Gov. Tony Evers, the Wisconsin League of Municipalities and local U.S. representatives and senators.