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Self Evident: Asian America's Stories

Jul 16, 2019

Under the Trump administration, the United States has pushed aggressively to deport Southeast Asian Americans with criminal records. Hurt that members of the Vietnamese community would support this action, guest producer Thanh Tan (creator of the podcast “Second Wave”) seeks out the people at risk of deportation — and the organizers fighting to keep them in the only home they’ve known. Along the way, she learns to embrace a new direction for Vietnamese Americans confronting the deeply rooted narrative of “the good refugee.”

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Resources and Recommended Reading

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.

"Know Your Rights" resources to prepare for ICE raids written in Arabic, Bangla, Burmese, Chinese, Dar/Farsi, Gujarati, Hindi, Karen, Khemer, Korean, Nepali, Punjabi, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese, compiled by the Asian American Federation in NY.

Primary sources:

Reporting and analysis on the federal government’s role in detention and deportation of immigrants:

Reporting and analysis on the detention and deportation of Vietnamese Americans and Cambodian Americans:

Shout Outs

John Woo and Kerry Donahue voiced the English translations of Thanh’s parents. Thanks to Julia Preston and Willoughby Mariano for their advice on reporting this story.


Produced by Thanh Tan and James Boo

Edited by Julia Shu and Cheryl Devall

Production support by Austin Jenkins, Jamala Henderson, Kevin Rinker, and Merk Nguyen

Sound engineering by Timothy Lou Ly

Theme music by Dorian Love

Music by Blue Dot Sessions and Epidemic Sound

Self Evident is a Studiotobe production. Season 1 is presented by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), the Ford Foundation, and our listener community. Our show was incubated at the Made in New York Media Center by IFP.

About CAAM: CAAM (Center for Asian American Media) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. CAAM does this by funding, producing, distributing, and exhibiting works in film, television, and digital media. For more information on CAAM, please visit With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, CAAM provides production funding to independent producers who make engaging Asian American works for public media.