Vangs revisited

Smiles were the special of the day one sunny afternoon late last month as Genevieve Vang strolled from table to table at her Bangkok 96 Restaurant on Telegraph in Livonia.

Vang, her husband Guy and daughter Caroline, 19, had received a reprieve from a deportation hearing that was scheduled this month. The Laotian family, which lives in Warren and includes two younger children, still faces deportation in a complex case which was put on hold for a decade when the INS lost crucial paperwork.

Late last month the Vangs received a letter from the INS rescheduling the final deportation hearing for November 2004. The letter eased months of stress for the family without a country.

“We were so happy. We just couldn’t bear the pressure any more,” Genevieve says.

The Vangs’ story was chronicled in Metro Times last year (“Out of options,” Oct. 9-15, 2002). Afterward, there was a flood of support for the family. U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow took up the cause. A Web support site ( received hundreds of hits. So was the reprieve a result of that campaign? It’s unlikely, says Meaghan Kennedy Riordan, a Livonia immigration attorney who is not involved in the Vang’s case.

“That kind of delay is pretty typical right now because of the huge backlog of cases at the INS,” she says.

So, for the Vangs, the clock is reset at 18 months and the countdown has begun again. Genevieve accepts this with a deep sigh.

“The next time it’s going to be the same,” she says. “Guy and me, we have nowhere to go.”

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Since 1980, Metro Times has been Detroit’s premier alternative source for news, arts, culture, music, film, food, fashion and more from a liberal point of view.
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