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Final: Asian American History

Terms in this set (27)

Internment Camps:
It is difficult to know just how many there were in the pre-war years, but about 9 percent of the internment camp population during World War II identified themselves as kibei.

Pre World War II: More men. More domestic servants.

World War II:

These organizations also developed and reflected Asian Americans' dual identities and their ties to Asia and America. The Chinese Students Association, for instance, which had about three thousand members, held a strong anti-imperialist stance and took a strong interest in Chinese politics.84 The Square and Circle Club of San Francisco, formed in 1924 as a service organization for second-generation Chinese American women, similarly intertwined China affairs with ethnic politics and gave the U.S.-born a place to express their bicultural identity. Reaching a membership of about eighty, it appealed mainly to middle-class, educated, and professional women. As member Alice Fong explained the group's origins, "Usually the Chinese Chamber of Commerce or the Six Companies are in charge of these charitable and public affairs ... But we wanted to help too. American girls can do these things. Why shouldn't we?"85 The organization emerged from meetings of the seven founding members at the Chinese Congregational Church, with a key impetus being their concern for flooding and famine victims in Guangdong. It was named for the shape of Chinese coins and the Chinese motto, "In needs be square, in knowledge be all-around." The group's fundraising drives, which incorporated jazz dances, variety shows, chest raffles, and fashion shows, bridged Chinese American and Chinese concerns, supporting Sun Yat-sen, war and famine victims after the 1911 Revolution, and Chinese orphanages, as well as Chinese American hospitals and youth programs in San Francisco.86 Members saw their U.S. patriotism and Chinese nationalism as compatible, and during World War II, they volunteered for the Red Cross and raised money for the war effort through the YWCA.87 Despite this work, the club was denied admission to the local Federation of Women's Clubs in 1937.

Terms like "crucible" and "watershed" are often used to describe America during World War II, and these aptly capture the Asian American experience. The Superman comic discussed above evoked changing ideas about and popular depictions of Asian Americans. Additionally, wartime economic expansion generated new opportunities for people of Asian ancestry, along with white women and other minorities, who had traditionally been marginalized and excluded. Although long-regarded as undesirable foreigners incapable of becoming American, Asians in the United States nonetheless caught the patriotic spirit during this war, giving their time, money, and lives to support

the country. They were also able to push the boundaries of belonging and citizenship because the war against fascism, the loyal service of minorities, and the imperative of strong international alliances had undercut the ideological and moral justifications for racism in American life, and with it the regime of Asian exclusion, whose dismantling began with the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943. Meanwhile, as they cheered the United States and pressed to expand their rights, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indians in America also turned their attention to Asia and hoped that the war would also hasten the liberation of their homelands from colonial control and new threats.
On the other hand, this was a traumatic time when wartime anxiety and hyper-nationalism brought out people's darker natures. Perhaps no group in America had a more bewildering experience than Japanese Americans. Even though the Nisei—who by the 1940s made up a majority of this population—proclaimed their loyalty to the United States, all persons of Japanese ancestry were regarded as enemies, and the entire West Coast Japanese population was removed and placed in concentration camps, enduring what historian Greg Robinson has called a "tragedy of democracy."2 The reactions of other Asians to internment varied. Some distanced themselves from Japanese Americans through acts of "ethnic disidentification," and added their voices to the anti-Japanese chorus. On the other hand, many Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, and Asian Indians were deeply troubled by the anti-Japanese racism of the war, particularly when its targets were their friends and neighbors.


Boycotts from China

WE ARE AT WAR." Fearful that Japanese in America would be persecuted in a fashion similar to what German Americans endured during World War I, he advised Nisei to lay low and foster the goodwill of the surrounding community:
We are all under suspicion. We are all being observed...We know we have nothing to conceal, but this does not preclude the fact that people living around us may not know it. And we cannot produce convincing enough evidence to acquit ourselves of suspicion. Our course, then, is to remain inconspicuous.8

Nisei found that their "bicultural" identity, in which they embraced their Japanese and American sides, celebrated U.S.-Japan relations, and served as "bridges of understanding," was now untenable. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), once a supporter of Japan's actions in China, adopted a rigid pro-America stance, raising money for the Red Cross and encouraging Nisei to enlist in the army. Fred Makino of Hawaii went as far as advocating denationalization, or the disavowal of all ties to Japan, proposing the prohibition of dual citizens from public employment.9
Other Asian Americans were also drawn into international events before the United States entered World War II, but for different reasons. For China and Chinese Americans, the war actually began when Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, a turn of events that brought an anti-Japan tenor to Chinese American homeland politics. The Chinese American newspaper Chung Sai Yat Po urged the United States to go to war with Japan, and in 1937, the Chinese Digest said, "being a patriotic Chinese means also that one must hate the Japanese."10 In the 1930s, Chinese Americans organized boycotts of Japanese goods and picketed docks where Japan-bound ships were moored. Overall, however, helping China and building unity among Chinese Americans were the aims of homeland activism, and much of this was accomplished through fundraising by organizations such as the Chinese War Relief Association (CWRA) and the CCBA.11 In 1940, the Chinese News reported that since 1937 overseas Chinese had raised $54,000,000 for China relief. Popular "Rice Bowl" parties and marches held in various cities, often in partnership with white pro-China organizations, raised a great deal of money, such as San Francisco's 1940 Rice Bowl, which netted about $87,000.12
As discussed earlier, Koreans in America had been deeply engaged with events in their homeland since Japan asserted its dominance in Korea in 1905, but over the 1930s they became particularly vocal in anti-Japan politics. On April 1941, the United Korean Committee, a U.S.-based Korean nationalist organization, called on Koreans in America to unite and support the Allied Powers "until they bring a final victory of the present war against the Axis Powers."13 Immigrants who saw themselves as exiles from their homeland hoped a war would hasten Korea's liberation. Kilsoo Haan, the head of the Sino-Korean People's League, was a prominent anti-Japan advocate before and during the war. One of the League's purposes, he explained, was to spy on Hawaii Japanese, and in early 1941 he claimed there were 35,000 to 50,000 Japanese in the islands who were ready to assist Japan in a war against the United States.

We, Filipinos, owe allegiance to the United States. In case of war, we are duty bound to lay down our lives for the STARS AND STRIPES. If the American flag imposes upon us the duty to die for it, if necessary; in all fairness, it must also give us the right to live as American citizens ... [We] are victims of a Philippine-American relationship which started before most of us were born. Certainly we are not responsible for that relationship ... we are here because America is in the Philippines.15

"WE ARE AT WAR." Fearful that Japanese in America would be persecuted in a fashion similar to what German Americans endured during World War I, he advised Nisei to lay low and foster the goodwill of the surrounding community:
We are all under suspicion. We are all being observed...We know we have nothing to conceal, but this does not preclude the fact that people living around us may not know it. And we cannot produce convincing enough evidence to acquit ourselves of suspicion. Our course, then, is to remain inconspicuous.8

Nisei found that their "bicultural" identity, in which they embraced their Japanese and American sides, celebrated U.S.-Japan relations, and served as "bridges of understanding," was now untenable. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), once a supporter of Japan's actions in China, adopted a rigid pro-America stance, raising money for the Red Cross and encouraging Nisei to enlist in the army. Fred Makino of Hawaii went as far as advocating denationalization, or the disavowal of all ties to Japan, proposing the prohibition of dual citizens from public employment.9

Japanese Americans were stunned at the news of Pearl Harbor and then filled with trepidation about what might follow. Even those who had been following events in Asia could not believe an attack on American soil had occurred. One Nisei fruit stand worker said, "I was shocked ... I still continued to think that it was impossible for such a thing to happen," and a Nisei woman typist recalled, "we thought that maybe it might be a mistake or some kind of play."24 The shock soon turned into despair and panic as an anti-Japanese backlash set in. In the weeks after Pearl Harbor, a handful of Japanese people were murdered in Los Angeles, Stockton, Imperial Valley, and Chicago, and reports of assaults and vandalism also surfaced.25 In the western states, farmers cut their ties with Japanese Americans by releasing them from their leases, and in California and the city and county of Los Angeles, Japanese civil servants were dismissed from their jobs. In San Francisco, the local Red Cross branch even stopped taking aid to or donations from Japanese. Most Nisei who were in the U.S. military at the time were discharged, although a small number was retained for intelligence work.26

Faced Travel Restrictions: Enemies of the US, Could not sue, register to federal government.

nd, he said this should be taken as implicit proof that they were planning an attack.36
Many scholars have written on the subject of Japanese internment, detailing its injustices, debating the policy's merits, and offering explanations on why it occurred, from public pressure fueled by racism to military strategies for ensuring Japan's humane handling of American prisoners. Racism certainly underlay the conflation of ethnicity with national loyalty that rationalized the imprisonment of about 110,000 Japanese Americans, of whom over 70,000 were U.S. citizens. Moreover, although the United States was also at war with Germany and Italy, the government did not intern Germans and Italians in America en masse, instead investigating them individually. As Earl Warren offered as an explanation for the differing approaches, "We believe that when we are dealing with the Caucasian race we have methods that will test the loyalty of them ... But when we deal with the Japanese we are in an entirely different field and cannot form any opinion that we believe to be sound."37 Internment was also a consequence of lapses in executive leadership. Worried about the threat Japanese Americans posed to national security, yet mindful of the impossibly complex operation that mass removal would be, Secretary of War Henry Stimson ultimately deferred to his military commanders. For FDR's part, as Japanese removal was being debated in December 1941, he delayed weighing in and eventually decided that violating the rights of a few Japanese Americans was an acceptable cost for winning the war. On February 19, 1942, he signed Executive Order 9066, conferring upon the Secretary of War the authority to designate military zones "from which any or all persons may be excluded" and for which the right of any person to "enter, remain in, or leave" was left to the discretion of military authorities.38 Although its language was neutral, the order's intent was to clear the way for Japanese mass removal. The day after its signing, Stimson authorized DeWitt to create the West Coast defense zone he had requested and to remove civilians as he saw fit.

By the end of 1941, the United States, China, Korea, and the Philippines had all come under attack by Japan, creating a bond among these countries and reorienting Americans' perceptions of Asia. The United States' relationship with India evolved a little differently. It was mediated on the one hand by its alliance with Great Britain, which still held colonial control there, but the Allies' avowed commitment to self-determination compelled Americans to support Indian independence. U.S. officials' investment in India deepened as they came to fear that Japan might try to expand into the subcontinent. Whereas Japanese Americans felt pressure to disavow their ties and loyalties to Japan, the war strengthened the transnational outlooks of other Asians, as supporting homeland liberation went hand in hand with rooting for the United States and the Allies. For instance, Asian Indian activists organized the National Committee for India's Freedom in 1944 to keep Americans apprised of the independence movement.75 As the English-language Chinese Press stated: "Bound by the ties of race to the people of that Republic across the Pacific, [they] can do no less than to bend their every effort in helping China emerge victorious from her present war with Japan, and later aid her in the gigantic task of reconstruction."76

As anti-Japanese sentiments intensified, federal officials and the mainstream media portrayed other Asians more positively. After Japanese forces invaded the Philippines, tales of the natives' gallantry—as well as the U.S.'s reliance on them to fight against Japan—seemed to change many Americans' perceptions of Filipinos.88\

Chinese Americans formed patriotic organizations, such as the Chinese Young Women's Society in Oakland in 1944, which provided a welcoming space for Chinese American servicemen passing through the area. Others put their unique skills and knowledge to use against the enemy. Korean Americans who knew Japanese worked as propaganda broadcasters in the Pacific front, agents for underground activities in Japanese-occupied parts of Asia, and for the U.S. government as teachers and translators of secret documents. Bong-youn Choy, an instructor of Oriental Languages at UC Berkeley, taught Japanese-language courses in Oakland and San Francisco while also working for the OWI.99 Older and female volunteers ineligible for military service were channeled into civilian support roles, such as working for the Red Cross and serving as emergency fire and air-raid wardens. The Chinese American actress Anna May Wong, for instance, signed up to be an air-raid warden in Santa Monica, and Filipino veterans of World War I were recruited by the Civilian Defense Corps in California to provide logistical support for emergency preparedness on the West Coast.100

Chinese Americans had been interested in helping to build China's military power, especially after the invasion of Manchuria, forming aviation clubs and schools with money raised in local communities. Located along the West Coast as well as cities such as Chicago, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Honolulu, and Boston, they accepted male and female trainees and influenced many Chinese American volunteers in the U.S. army to pursue aviation.104 After the passage of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, Chan Chong Yuen of New York went to register on the day that the law took effect, and his number was the first to be drawn.105 Overall, between 12,000 and 15,000 Chinese Americans, or about 20 percent of the U.S. adult Chinese male population, enlisted in the armed forces, serving in both integrated and all-Chinese units. The most visible Chinese American contribution to the military during World War II was the Fourteenth Air Service Group (ASG), which consisted of nine units and accounted for about 10 percent of Chinese Americans in military. The ASG grew out of successful joint U.S.-China efforts in the China-Burma-India Theater and was deployed in China in 1944.106

The industrial demands of the war, combined with the enlistment of millions of young men created acute domestic labor shortages, which, for many women and minorities, were opportunities for economic mobility. Under pressure from labor and civil rights leaders, government officials and patriotic organizations such as the American Legion came around to supporting the hiring of minorities for defense jobs.123 A key turning point was FDR's signing of Executive Order 8802, issued in the face of public pressure escalated by A. Philip Randolph's planned March on Washington to protest discrimination against minorities in defense jobs. The order prohibited racial discrimination in employment and created the Fair Employment Practices Commission.
Defense industry employment was another way for Asian Americans to contribute to the war effort and prove their loyalty while pursuing socioeconomic mobility.

These years also saw the beginning of a large-scale movement of middle class and educated Asian Americans out of urban enclaves, a pattern that would accelerate during the Cold War years. With regard to public housing, the case of Ping Yuen illustrated important changes. In early 1941 the Ping Yuen housing development in San Francisco Chinatown was approved for extra funding by the city and county's board of supervisors. Although it was not completed until after the war due to rising steel prices and residents had to be U.S. citizens, the project was still a watershed and consistently discussed in terms of foreign relations. Charles Palmer, the housing coordinator for the Office of Emergency Management, said, "the building of this project has real importance from the standpoint of our international relations with China."133

The war also brought the contradictory status of Asian Americans and other minorities into focus. On the one hand, they were being asked to demonstrate their loyalty to the United States, but on the other, they continued to experience racial discrimination. In a 1942 essay in Survey Graphic, Rose Hum Lee criticized American employers who would not hire Chinese for defense jobs, especially in light of the war. "Surely racial discrimination should not be directed against those who are America's Allies in the Far East and are helping her in every way to win the war," she said. "To be fighting for freedom and democracy in the Far East, at the cost of seven million lives in five years of hard, long, bitter warfare, and to be denied equal opportunity in the greatest of democracies, seems the height of irony."135 Even when they were hired, Chinese Americans often faced discriminatory treatment and were judged based on stereotypes. At Moore Dry Dock in Oakland, the company placed most of its Chinese employees in an all-Chinese electrical unit. Managers claimed that this was necessary due to language difficulties, even though at the time 80 percent of the Chinese American employees spoke English.136 Other employers placed Chinese Americans in segregated crews and rarely promoted them to supervisory positions. In defense jobs, they were often assigned electrical work because employers thought they were better suited for light, detail-oriented tasks.137

Americans' understanding of the United States changed from a white nation to a multicultural one. This shift was compelled by wartime developments in which new windows of possibilities opened up for Asian Americans and other minorities, to not just hope for equality and belonging, but to expect and demand it.
The War Brides Act (Public Law 271) was enacted on December 28, 1945, to allow alien spouses, natural children, and adopted children of members of the United States Armed Forces, "if admissible," to enter the U.S. as non-quota immigrants after World War II. More than 100,000 entered the United States under this Act and its extensions and amendments until it expired in December 1948. Miscegenation allowed via these laws.

So-called "war brides" constituted the majority of Asian women migrants in the fifteen years after World War II, also representing about 20 percent of the Asian American population's growth in this period.15 Beginning with the Magnuson Act, which permitted the entry of Chinese family members, military spouses from Asia came to the United States through a variety of legislative reforms. The War Brides Act, passed in December 1945, allowed the "admission of alien spouses and alien minor children of citizen members of the United States armed forces," as non-quota immigrants. Between 1945 and 1948, over five thousand Chinese women entered under its provisions.16 In 1952 the Act was amended to allow for the entry of military brides from Korea and Japan, but most of these women were sponsored as non-quota dependents of U.S. citizens under the McCarran-Walter Act.17 Japanese were the largest group of military brides, making up 80 percent of Japanese immigrants in the 1950s and entering at an annual rate of two thousand to five thousand in the 1950s and 1960s.18

In cases where military spouses married co-ethnics, usually the case among Chinese and to a significant but lesser degree among Filipinas, this migration greatly changed the dynamics of Asian American communities. In the three years that the War Brides Act was in effect, 5,132 Chinese women entered the country. Thousands of other Chinese wives, not necessarily married to servicemen, came under the Chinese Alien Wives of American Citizens Act (1946) between 1947 and 1950, further boosting female migration. Most of the couples settled in metropolitan areas on the East or West Coasts, where their husbands were already settled. According to Xiaojian Zhao, most Chinese military brides had actually been married for at least ten years prior to joining their husbands, having previously maintained transnational marriages and homes.19 Yee Wing, for instance, had been separated from her husband for fifteen years before coming to the United States under the War Brides Act.20 Chinese also tended to be older than other war brides, with most between thirty- and forty-years-old at the time of their arrival. Regarding long-term consequences, the migration of military and other wives allowed communities to transition from "bachelor" to "family communities." In Chinese America, it hastened a postwar baby boom; this population experienced a 286.5 percent increase in the birth rate between 1946 and 1947.21

The picture was different for Korean and Japanese military brides, most of whom married white American servicemen.22 As Japan and Korea were reeling from the destruction of World War II and the Korean War, many young women in these countries had to go out and earn a living, sometimes far from home on military bases where the U.S. occupation of the two countries had created jobs in sales service, clerical work, bars, and restaurants. Their reasons for marrying American men and leaving their countries varied, but frequently centered on their need for emotional or material support. Korean women who worked as entertainers and waitresses in "camptowns," where U.S. soldiers were stationed, often found conditions there to be abusive, so looked to marriage as a way out of that life. Others, like Japanese military bride Reiko Simeone, believed that an American husband would treat her better than a Japanese one. "In Japan, when I was young," she said, "I never thought I'm going to marry ... men do what they want even if they're married. A couple of years later, he'd be fooling around."23
In the United States, Asian military brides found familiar and new challenges. Those who had entered interracial marriages often faced isolation from both co-ethnics and the mainstream society. That they had intermarried at all was transgressive—marrying blacks was especially taboo in many families—so they often embarked on married life estranged from kin and social networks of support.24 The brides usually settled in the husbands' hometowns, where they were likely to be the only Asians, and had to quickly learn English and adapt to American life. Military wives in the Bay Area and other cities with Asian American communities were generally more socially independent because they could find support outside the home, compared to their counterparts in remote places. This support usually came through friendships with other military brides, as the wider ethnic community could be ambivalent toward them. Korean military brides, for instance, were often discriminated against by other Korean Americans due to their backgrounds as entertainers, waitresses, or prostitutes.25
For much of American society, Asian military brides were fascinating objects of curiosity. Their lives in America represented "fish out of water" stories that the public consumed with much interest. Furthermore, intermarriages between Asian women and white American servicemen affirmed principles of Cold War liberalism, symbolizing U.S. benevolence toward Asia and the transcending of social taboos in a multiracial America. Films like Japanese War Bride (1952) and Sayonara (1957), which depicted interracial intimacy between white American men and Japanese women, criticized Japanese and U.S. attitudes against intermarriage and celebrated colorblind love. In February 1955 Life magazine featured an article titled, "Pursuit of Happiness by a GI and a Japanese." Written by James Michener, a well-known Asia expert who also authored the book on which Sayonara was based, the piece centered on Sachiko Pfeiffer, a "tiny girl" from Japan, who came to the United States in 1948 after marrying Frank Pfeiffer of Chicago, a "soft-spoken slaughterhouse butcher."26 Describing their courtship, Michener wrote, "After four speechless dates they knew they were in love." Although he described Sachiko's struggles to adjust to America and the couple's travails against the racism of Frank's family and the surrounding community, Michener ultimately presented a story of love conquering all, including the socioeconomic ladder into the middle class.
Toward the close of the twentieth century, Asian America was characterized by the persistence of long-running themes and the appearance of new challenges. Domestic and global developments gave rise to the return of "yellow peril" rhetoric that targeted persons of Asian ancestry, often with alarming consequences. At the same time, against the backdrop of liberal multiculturalism, Asian Americans, individually and collectively, continued to make strides and achieve historical milestones in mainstream life. Furthermore as the Asian population continued to grow and diversify, much of it due to new immigration, the category "Asian America" expanded and became more salient in the race relations landscape, although its meanings and boundaries became more elusive than ever.
This chapter discusses major developments in Asian America in the closing decades of the twentieth century, with a focus on how these events and themes underscored crucial reckonings, on the one hand for all Americans regarding race and intolerance in the United States and among Asian Americans themselves regarding their obligations toward one another, the meanings of solidarity, and their role in working toward a more racially just society. For all that had been attained and the progress achieved over the preceding decades, Asian Americans and the nation at large kept reaching familiar crossroads but against a constantly changing social and political backdrop, bringing to the fore new dilemmas. For instance, what were the meanings of anti-Asian violence at a time when Asian Americans had seemingly secured their status as model minorities? What place is there for racial and ethnic politics in a post-ethnic and post-racial America? What obligations do Asian Americans have toward one another and other racial minorities? And in an age of accelerated globalization and international competition, will Asian Americans continue to be stigmatized as "forever foreigners" despite their long presence in the United States? The chapter will explore these and other questions, with particular attention on the rise of racialized violence and the revival of Yellow Perilism, black-Asian conflict, the growth of the mixed-race Asian American population, and interethnic politics and conflict. While these developments have indeed underscored the continued salience of race, racism, and ethnic politics as a factor in Asian American experience, the changing landscape and cultural climate has simultaneously made it more challenging to discuss and address these matters, thus highlighting some of the major yet unresolved challenges facing this population into the twenty-first century.

As discussed in the previous chapter, one of the effects of the Immigration Act of 1965 was a greatly enlarged Asian American population with a prominent professional and educated class. Many of their children, furthermore, were high achieving students who excelled academically and gained admission to the nation's most selective colleges and universities. While such privileged and accomplished individuals were not representative of the Asian American population, they nonetheless came to dominate media representations of Asians in America. In this iteration of the "model minority," which gained traction by the mid-1980s, high-achieving Asian American students from the high school to college levels were especially visible and commented upon. Although their backgrounds were ethnically and socioeconomically diverse, they tended to be lumped in stories with headlines such as "The New Whiz Kids," as Time magazine proclaimed in 1987 and Newsweek's "The Drive to Excel," from 1984.

In 1988 the cartoonist Gary Trudeau satirized about the high-achieving Asian American student in a comic strip in which a white high school student delivered a report to her class about the impact of Asian competition on the U.S. economy, which turned into a diatribe about Asian students in America. "And I agree with Mr. Gephardt's assertion that Asians are threatening our economic future ... We can see it right here in our own school. Who are getting into the best colleges, in disproportionate numbers? Asian kids! It's not fair!"1 At the conclusion of the presentation, the teacher chastised the student, saying, "Unfortunately it's racist," to which the student responded, "Um ... Are you sure? My parents helped me." Here, Trudeau pointed out and made light of how people viewed U.S. prosperity and Asian success as mutually exclusive and antagonistic forces, even when the latter pertained to academic achievements by Americans of Asian descent.

The humor in Trudeau's comic strip spoke to a growing unease among Americans, white and non-white, about the heightened presence of Asian American students in U.S. schools, both as an overall proportion of student bodies and among the high achievers. In public school districts in major metropolitan areas, notable concentrations of Asian Americans had emerged with renewed immigration, student body diversification, and the rise of magnet schools designed to attract and retain students. At the same time, efforts to integrate schools sometimes resulted in discriminatory practices and negative attitudes against Asian students.

At Lowell High School, the district's premier high school, officials following the diversity rationale became concerned not just with raising black enrollment, but also maintaining white enrollment and keeping down Asian American numbers. As Chinese students were the most numerous, officers implemented racial caps to limit them to no more than 40 percent of the student population, which Chinese parents vocally protested. The controversy at Lowell illustrated the complex nature of equal protection in a multicultural nation,
When Japanese finally became vocal about their mistreatment in the internment camps. Sometimes went back to visit the camps

The years after the war were characterized by Japanese American silence around the ordeal of internment. As noted earlier in the book, the mainstream media praised Japanese Americans for their obedience and peacefulness during and after the war, despite having been subjected to government incarceration. To be sure, there had always been voices that were critical of internment, but these viewpoints tended to be marginalized or silenced. The Japanese American Citizens League, whose official stance was to comply with the government's orders and demonstrate U.S. patriotism, had by and large been accepted as the dominant outlook of Japanese Americans during the war.
Things had changed by the early 1970s. By this time, third- and fourth-generation Japanese Americans were coming of age and many, perhaps politicized by the events of the 1960s, rejected the older generations' stoicism around the unjust internment to which they had been subjected during World War II. One turning point occurred in 1970 when the Seattle Museum of History and Industry and National Endowment for the Humanities held an exhibit on local Japanese American history, which for the first time made the history of internment visible to a general public. On display from July to September 1970, the exhibit was seen by about thirty-four thousand people and was positively received. This reception emboldened Japanese Americans to continue talking about their experiences after years of suppressing their feelings about them.
The heightened public awareness of the internment led to the politicization of many Japanese Americans across the generations who had been silent for so long. In the mid-1970s, Henry Miyake, who had been interned when he was twelve, decided to look into legal redress after reading the book, Prejudice, War, and the Constitution, which an attorney friend had recommended to him.61 His politicization was gradual, stemming in part from his employment as an engineer at Boeing, where he encountered his fair share of racial discrimination and insensitive comments. He went on to co-found the Seattle Evacuation Redress Committee (SERC), which pushed Japanese American organizations, including JACL chapters, to make the redress issue a more prominent one. The Committee also had to overcome the national JACL's hesitancy about championing a redress bill as well as its historical pattern of not speaking out about internment.
Through much of the 1970s, SERC worked to build support in the JACL, chapter by chapter, as well as grassroots support for redress. Much of this work entailed urging Japanese Americans to come to terms with their silence. It sent out an information packet to JACL chapters, government representatives, and other Japanese American organizations, called, "An Appeal for Action to Obtain Redress for the World War II Evacuation and Imprisonment of Japanese Americans."62 In it, the authors did not just emphasize the injustice of internment, but also criticized Japanese Americans for being "brainwashed" into thinking that "they had been born of an unworthy race and that they had to submit meekly to practically any governmental trampling of their human rights."63 The fact that no real attempt, thirty years later, had been made to obtain redress was further proof that "the older Nisei at least, have been psychologically crippled by their pre-war and wartime experience."64 The committee then recommended that each former internee receive $5,000 plus $10 per day incarcerated. The response to the committee's work was encouraging and indicated an awakening in Japanese America; it received monetary support from local Japanese churches and a strong majority of respondents said they favored pursuing some form of redress.
Meanwhile, SERC also had its detractors. S.I. Hayakawa, now a U.S. Senator, attacked the Seattle JACL members who joined SERC as "third-generation Japanese Americans eagerly conforming to the radical-chic fads of their non-Japanese college contemporaries."65 Hayakawa's attempt to dismiss redress activists as young radical flunkies, however, did not hold up. SERC leader Shosuke Sasaki responded to the attacks in the Seattle Times by pointing out that the "Appeal for Action" was actually written by a sixty-three-year-old Issei, in collaboration with a fifty-eight-year-old Nisei and a forty-six-year-old Nisei, all of whom were professionals or retired professionals.
In terms of how to engage national politics, redress activists decided to focus on getting Executive Order 9066 revoked, which they hoped would then become an opening to push for monetary payments. SERC leaders worked with Washington governor Dan Evans, who happened to be a friend of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. These ties allowed for a swift path to rescission in 1976, and in President Ford's rescission statement, he said, "evacuation was wrong, but Japanese-Americans were and are loyal Americans."66
This achievement added momentum to the redress campaign, and JACL chapters entered the fold more quickly. Mike Masaoka even expressed his support for the campaign in the Pacific Citizen, although he favored the establishment of a public trust rather than individual payments. In Spring 1976, the JACL formed a National Reparations Committee and explored various plans.67 At its first convention, held in 1978, it proposed redress legislation that would award $25,000 to each individual and set up a community trust fund. It also produced a widely distributed booklet laying out its case, Japanese American Incarceration: A Case for Redress.
As the redress movement became national in scope, it garnered broad support in and outside of the Japanese American community. In 1980, the National Coalition for Redress Reparations (NCRR) was established in Los Angeles as an umbrella organization for diverse groups to join the campaign.68 The NCRR attracted progressive and working class Japanese Americans as well as members of the radical Communist organization, the League of Revolutionary Struggle. It worked in a variety of areas, from launching community education campaigns to get people to testify and attend the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) hearings to arranging for translation assistance for Issei.
A key ally to the movement from outside the ethnic community was Frank Chin, who had come to Seattle during the 1970s to research and write a story about redress. While there, he was impressed by the growing redress activism he witnessed, saying, "I thought Japanese America had recovered its conscience and was at last making a stand for Japanese American integrity and reclaiming its history."69 Chin met with Henry Miyake, Shosuke Sasaki, and other SERC officers and brainstormed the idea of a homecoming at Puyallup fairgrounds, a former assembly center, to bring wider attention to the issue of redress. The event, called Day of Remembrance, was scheduled for November 25, 1978. Widely advertised and supported by JACL chapters, churches, students, and others, the Day of Remembrance was seen as a "major cultural shift in our community" with regard to the history of internment and Japanese Americans' willingness to use the media to bring attention to their cause.70 The turnout was better than expected, with over two thousand people caravanning from Sick Stadium in Seattle to Puyallup. Among the attendees were writer Monica Sone, actor Pat Morita, and activist Gordon Hirabayashi. People were able to see arts and crafts that had been made in camp, watch odori performances, view a slide show on Minidoka, and take in a performance of the Japanese American play Lady is Dying. In the wake of the event's success, Day of Remembrance commemorations were planned in other cities.
Washington representative Mike Lowry, an ally of Japanese Americans and the redress cause, introduced a bill in November 1979, which was subsequently passed and signed by President Jimmy Carter on July 31, 1980. The bill established a commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians to review the circumstances and facts around EO 9066 and its impact on Japanese immigrants and the U.S.-born, the U.S. military directives that led to relocation, and to recommend appropriate remedies. The commission went to work gathering testimony in nine cities for a total of twenty-one days of hearings, and in December 1982 it published its findings. The report offered detailed documentation of evacuation and concluded that, "the record does not permit the conclusion that military necessity warranted the exclusion of ethnic Japanese from the West Coast."71 The committee later recommended that the federal government apologize for the grave injustice of internment and that those individuals who had been convicted of violating the curfew be pardoned. It also stated that Congress should direct executive agencies to which Japanese Americans could apply for restitution, establish an education and humanitarian foundation to address injustices, and appropriate $1.5 billion to pay each survivor $20,000. With the work of the committee completed, congressional redress bills were introduced. In June 1983, Mike Lowry presented the first of these, HR 3387, the World War II Civil Liberties Violation Redress Act. The bill that Congress did pass, HR 442, the Civil Liberties Act, was introduced by Tom Foley, another Democrat from Washington, in 1987. Although it was signed by President Ronald Reagan on August 10, 1988, payments were not made until 1991. Former internees, starting with the oldest, received $20,000 checks and an apology from the president.
The decades long struggle for redress transformed Japanese America. According to Robert Sadamu Shimabukuro, it "played an important role in unifying a community whose generations had been torn apart by World War II. It enabled Nikkei to talk not only to legislative bodies, the media, and the greater American community but, just as important to other Nikkei generations as well."72 As SERC leader Henry Miyake characterized it:
I dare say that Nihonjin [people of Japanese ancestry] came out of the closet. That's the result of redress, the Day of Remembrance, and all those events. I think these guys were able to come out of the closet and tell the stories to their kids, their grandchildren. The commission ... was a lot of good, because of the exposure of information that created a wealth of ideas that were generated by these people. [They were able to say] 'Okay, I'm willing to speak about it,' but until then, they were reticent.73
Countries send their best and brightest to the US for education and employment and they often stayed which is the "brain drain" of their home country. This gave the US a "brain gain." In recent years many have been just coming for the education and then going back.

Another important development among Asian Americans since 1965 was the dramatic rise of professionals employed in the mainstream economy, a phenomenon tied to economic transformation and globalization. As mentioned, large numbers of Filipina nurses filled some of the demand for medical professionals. Additionally, the migration of Indian doctors to the United States as well as Great Britain began rising in the 1960s. Among Indians and other Asian groups, the professional migration has generally been spearheaded by health workers, but they were joined by other kinds of professionals in later years. This flow of people has also been called a "brain drain" of the most educated and talented people from their countries of origin.
In the United States, the restructuring of capitalism in the second half of the twentieth century saw, in addition to the decline of heavy manufacturing, the rise of the informational age, which has entailed product to process-oriented production and the flexibility of labor and capital. With the growth of high technology jobs in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, Asian immigrants helped fill labor demands for everything from engineers to assembly line workers. The proliferation of this industry from the 1980s on was an especially important force behind the rapid growth of the middle and upper class South Asian American population, mostly Gujarati Hindus and South Pakistani Muslims.41 A large number of these were software engineers considered the "cream of India" and educated at the best Indian universities. The United States was the most favored destination for information technology (IT) workers due to its advanced infrastructure and favorable immigration policies for professionals. However, the development of a large IT sector in India prompted some return migration as well.42
The economic activities of the post-1965 Asian immigrants brought significant consequences into the areas in which they settled. Due to rising patterns of residential suburbanization and urban redevelopment, many of the self-sufficient Asian ethnic economies of the pre-World War II years disappeared, relocated, or became more geographically dispersed. In some cases, however, the old urban enclaves were revitalized as a result of new immigration. Old Chinatowns in cities like New York and San Francisco, for instance, were given a new lease on life by the arrival of post-1965 Chinese immigrants with capital who invested in Chinatown businesses such as sewing factories and helped to boost the local economies while providing employment to their co-ethnic counterparts. The development of a particular sector then gave rise to a proliferation of services—newspapers, legal services, real estate offices, dentists, etc.—which further fueled the revival of Chinatowns.
Other, especially newer urban ethnic enclaves, such as Los Angeles' Koreatown, fared much differently. Located near South Central Los Angeles, Koreatown emerged in the mid-1970s at a time when the area was reeling from deindustrialization and white flight. It nonetheless developed into a vital economic and cultural center for Korean immigrants in Southern California, benefiting from immigrant economic activity as well as infusions of South Korean capital. As far as the layout and social landscape, it developed much differently from dense, compact Chinatowns in places like San Francisco. Koreatown's population is multiethnic—in 1990 its population was 68 percent Latino—and the area also had a large number of businesses run by other Asians and Latinos.43 Another way in which Koreatown differed from older urban ethnic enclaves, and this was generally true of recently established ethnic neighborhoods, is that it was spread out and lacked a distinguishable center. This has tended to make Koreatown seemingly invisible and illegible to surrounding residents. A Time magazine article from 1983 noted that a stockbroker from nearby Westwood did not even know that Koreatown existed, even though there were 150,000 Koreans living there.44
A separate but related phenomenon associated with post-1965 immigration and the arrival of investor immigrants was the influx of Asian capital into American cities. As mentioned, this was pivotal for the growth of new ethnic enclaves, but it was also channeled elsewhere. In San Francisco, for example, residents, entrepreneurs, and immigrant investors initially began purchasing business spaces outside of Chinatown, in places such as China Basin, due to the prohibitive cost of property in the former. After these kinds of investments showed positive returns, foreign capital started to pour in from East Asian countries that had experienced rapid growth in the 1950s and 1960s.45 This Asian capital reconfigured Asian American communities by enabling their growth and enhancing residents' transnational orientations. It has also made its mark on the larger American landscape. Chinese investors, for instance, bought up hotels in Los Angeles such as the Universal Hilton, Beverly Wilshire, and Airport Hilton, and Taiwanese investors built a large commercial complex, the Evertrust Plaza, in New Jersey. Taiwanese investment in the United States in 1989 alone was about $1 billion.46 Ironically, such urban investments by Asian investors have contributed to the problem of unaffordable housing for many longtime and working class Asian Americans.
Cold War applies international relations pressure to accept asian immigrants. contributes to brain drain because US becomes eager to accept many international students

The United States had fought in the Korean War to contain the global spread of Communism, and in its aftermath Americans felt captivated by—and obligated toward—war orphans and children of GIs in need of homes. The incorporation of Korean children into white middle-class families and the positive coverage these adoptions received, moreover, signaled more accepting attitudes about the place of Asians in America and by extension the possibilities of pluralism. When framed as compassionate acts of rescue, Korean adoptions also projected American moral authority and U.S.-Asia bonds. Finally, the migration of Korean adoptees underscored general features of Asian migration during the 1950s and 1960s. From the end of World War II to the 1965 Immigration Act, new Asian immigrants differed greatly from their pre-exclusion counterparts. Whereas uneducated and unskilled people primarily valued for their physical labor once dominated the immigrant stream, they would be eclipsed by adoptees, military brides, students, and skilled workers during the 1950s and 1960s as Asian immigration, and the immigration system in general, were reoriented around political and economic exigencies shaped by the Cold War.
This chapter discusses Asian America during the early Cold War years, with a focus on the period from the end of World War II to the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965. In American history, this time is associated with economic prosperity, the baby boom, and a return to domesticity. It was also a conservative era whose politics were shaped by Cold War worries. Asian Americans were deeply affected by these developments. For instance, after China "fell" to Mao's forces in 1949, the United States devoted much of its attention to resisting Communism's spread elsewhere in Asia, an extension of which was to persuade the American public both of the menace of Communism and the importance of Asia and its people to U.S. interests. On the one hand, fears of international Communism resulted in the singling out of Chinese and other Asian American leftists for persecution, but on the other, as Americans grew sensitive to charges of racism lest it be wielded against them in Communist propaganda, and realized the imperative of forging friendships with countries they hoped to "save" from Communism, they came to espouse liberal ideologies, including the notion that Asians could be part of the American melting pot. The early Cold War period was also a turning point for Asian immigration, during which exclusionary practices were gradually reversed and a significant rise in new migration occurred, setting the stage for sweeping legislative reform in the mid-1960s. This new immigration and the context of the Cold War opened the way for Asians to attain unprecedented visibility and success in mainstream life, although some of this success was a function of the skills and privilege with which they entered the United States. Connected to the heightened attention to Asian success and Americanism were constructions of the Asian American "model minority." Although touted as a positive development for Asian Americans and a larger symbol of racial progress, this stereotype implicitly disparaged other minorities, especially African Americans, and only exalted Asian Americans who embodied an anti-radical, middle-class, conformist position.

The Cold War atmosphere of competition and the specter of nuclear war generated much domestic anxiety and paranoia, prompting campaigns to find enemies at home, such as those led by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). The dominant political culture of the 1950s and 1960s was characterized not just by anticommunism, but also conformity and anti-radicalism, putting leftists and outsiders of various stripes on the defensive. Yet the exigencies of winning the Cold War also called on Americans to embrace new priorities such as rejecting racism and reaching out to the nonaligned word, two pillars of Cold War liberalism.2

The picture was different for Korean and Japanese military brides, most of whom married white American servicemen.22 As Japan and Korea were reeling from the destruction of World War II and the Korean War, many young women in these countries had to go out and earn a living, sometimes far from home on military bases where the U.S. occupation of the two countries had created jobs in sales service, clerical work, bars, and restaurants. Their reasons for marrying American men and leaving their countries varied, but frequently centered on their need for emotional or material support. Korean women who worked as entertainers and waitresses in "camptowns," where U.S. soldiers were stationed, often found conditions there to be abusive, so looked to marriage as a way out of that life. Others, like Japanese military bride Reiko Simeone, believed that an American husband would treat her better than a Japanese one. "In Japan, when I was young," she said, "I never thought I'm going to marry ... men do what they want even if they're married. A couple of years later, he'd be fooling around."23

The Korean War of 1950-52, however, brought a new urgency to expanding the rights of Koreans in America and, by this time, Japan was now a U.S. ally. The McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 established that citizenship would "not be abridged or denied on the basis of race, sex, or marriage" and opened the doors to all other Asians while granting Korea and Japan annual immigration quotas of one hundred.184

While the backdrop of Cold War ideology and economic expansion had varying effects on the lives of Asians in America, by the late 1950s outside observers were noting their remarkable strides toward achieving mainstream integration and middle class respectability. This period saw a number of Asian American "firsts" in various fields, and many of the vestiges of structural discrimination were on their way out. In addition to the immigration policy already discussed, in 1946 California voters rejected Proposition 15, which proposed to make the state's alien land law part of its constitution. The Pacific Citizen said this represented the "final repudiation for the native fascists on the 'Japanese Issue.'"85 Two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt two decisive blows against institutional racism, by striking down California's alien land law and racially restrictive covenants.
The most striking areas of Asian American progress in the years after World War II were residential and economic mobility. With regard to housing, Asian Americans were moving in unprecedented numbers into previously all-white neighborhoods, indicating that cases like Sam Yoshihara's were not simply Cold War-driven public relations gestures. In San Francisco, as Chinatown expanded beyond its borders and old and new residents sought alternative residential options, Chinese started to move into neighborhoods such as the Richmond and Sunset. In turn, living in these residential and suburban areas meant their children attended better schools, which then facilitated their social and economic mobility. The movement of Japanese Americans into the mainstream economy and white-collar occupations was especially pronounced. In Los Angeles as early as 1948, just 30 percent of workers were employed by co-ethnics. Other changes from prewar patterns included business owners increasingly drawing their incomes from outside Little Tokyo, the entry of educated Nisei into professional and technical fields, and an overall decline in Japanese participation in farming.8
Americans were plunged into crisis over the Vietnam War—over the war's toll on people's lives as well as confidence in U.S. influence and power abroad. However, few could have anticipated during the 1960s that another consequence of this war would be a dramatic revival of Asian migration, which would have profound repercussions for how Americans understood refugees and human rights and the demographics of Asian America.

Attentive to how U.S.-born Asian Americans became cognizant and critical of the racist aspects of the Vietnam War, the chapter also considers the war's impact on domestic racial politics broadly and Asian American racial and ethnic politics particularly. In this regard, as well as its attention to the lives of refugees in America, the chapter goes beyond standard histories of the Vietnam War that focus on foreign policy and the anti-war movement to shed light on its impact on immigration, race, and the evolution of "Asian America." Its focus on Southeast Asian migration to America, furthermore, underscores the Vietnam War's impact on the lives of Southeast Asian people, something often elided in diplomatic and political histories of the conflict.

n 1977, the New York Times reported that many members of Congress were expressing opposition to the admission of more refugees and, as the Economist explained, Americans disliked that "the Vietnam War should come back, in the persons of its victims, to haunt [them] on their own ground."39 On the other hand, because the refugees were fleeing Communist governments, others felt obligated to help them. Harrowing stories about the boat people being preyed upon by pirates, the poor conditions of refugee camps, and the legacy of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot further tugged at people's heartstrings and consciences.
Perhaps no groups captured the mainstream imagination as much as children and Amerasians from Vietnam. The "Operation Babylift" campaign, which airlifted about two thousand Vietnamese orphans (a tiny fraction of the total number of orphans in the country) out of Saigon to be adopted by American families, generated interest in helping war refugees while casting the United States once again as global savior. Amerasians were also highly sentimentalized, sometimes described as "vets" and "hostages" as if to underscore the idea that they were basically Americans trapped in a foreign country, waiting to be brought "home."40 Media coverage about Amerasians often highlighted their physical features to heighten readers' sympathy and sense of kinship toward them. For instance, in a 1985 profile about Amerasian teenager Le Van Minh, the Long Island Newsday emphasized his physical disabilities, impoverishment, and mixed-race appearance. Minh's well-being, the publication stressed, depended on whether "a foreigner would be moved by his American face and broken body."41 The attention his case generated resulted in lobbying by UN and U.S. representatives and his expedited entry into the United States. Another account of Amerasians in Vietnam detailed a trip by actress Julie Andrews to Ho Chi Minh City in 1982 in her role as an advocate for the relief agency Operation California. Andrews was struck by the "beautiful looking" Amerasian children she encountered. "My God they are simply lovely. It's a real jerk to the soul—and to the senses. You think you know the face. Some of them look very Caucasian. They come running up to you and say, 'Are you an American? I'm one too.'"42 Such coverage helped launch the plight of Amerasians as a cause celebre and, eventually, about 4,500 Vietnamese Amerasians, known as bui doi or con lai, were admitted via the UNHCR's Orderly Departure Program as well as U.S. laws passed in 1982 and 1987.43
Highlighting the patriarchal and imperialistic dimensions of the discourse about Amerasians, Jana Lipman has shown how the settlement of this group not only elevated the United States as a benevolent global power, but also valorized American (usually white) fathers and minimized the role of Vietnamese mothers. In lobbying for their admission, legislators often pressed the importance of reuniting fathers with their long lost children and intimated that the mothers were giving up their children.44 This perception was inscribed into policy in the 1982 Amerasian Amendment, which excluded mothers and required them to revoke their custody rights if their Amerasian child applied to come to the United States, a policy that was not changed until 1988. This binary of the male, paternal, responsible, white American versus the female, sexualized, all-sacrificing Vietnamese was echoed in the popular musical, Miss Saigon (debuted in London in 1989 and on Broadway in 1991), whose plot involved a Vietnamese prostitute (Kim) who bore a child by a white American GI (Chris). Despite falling in love in Vietnam, the couple's future was doomed; for one, Chris had a white American wife at home. At the end of the story, Chris took on the responsibility of raising the child in America while Kim committed suicide, as an expression of her despair and sacrifice for her child.

one incident in 1979, two Vietnamese crabbers were accused of murdering a white American man in a dispute in Seadrift, Texas. Within hours of the man's death, three Vietnamese boats were burned, one of their dwellings was firebombed, and an attempt was made to bomb a local crab-packing house that employed Vietnamese. Two-thirds of the refugees living in the community fled to another town.75 The accused were eventually acquitted. Having drawn national attention, the incident inspired the 1985 film Alamo Bay, whose plot centered on a demoralized American veteran of the Vietnam War who lashes out against Vietnamese arrivals in his small fishing town in Texas.

Mar also found himself rooting against the United States in Vietnam during the late 1960s. Indeed, for many Asian Americans, the Vietnam War and accompanying anti-war movement was another pivotal moment in their political awakening. In the nation at large, a variety of reasons led people to protest the war, from opposition to the draft, the government's secretiveness, U.S. arrogance, and the toll of the war on American soldiers and families. Chinese American Bob Hsiang grew up in a middle-class, staunchly anti-communist household and initially supported the war and the goal of containment. While attending college in Buffalo, New York, however, he was exposed to the politics of anti-war groups like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), but was especially affected by seeing television footage of the war, leading him to become skeptical of U.S. intervention abroad in general.11
Asian American anti-war activists, who organized their own contingents to rallies such as an April 24, 1971 mobilization in San Francisco and the Inaugural Day demonstrations in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 1973, were additionally motivated by racial and class critiques of the war that played little, if any, role in the mainstream movement. Working-class activists of color tended to be more cognizant and critical of how poor and minority soldiers were bearing the disproportionate brunt of combat, as well as the war's imperialist and racist dimensions. Civil rights and Black Power leader Stokely Carmichael, for instance, characterized the draft as "white people sending black people to make war on yellow people in order to defend the land they stole from red people."12 Additionally, as La Causa, the newspaper of the Brown Berets said, "The Vietnam War is the ultimate weapon of genocide of non-white people."13
Pat Sumi's critique of the war likewise came to center around race. While in the South, she met college students from the North and West who were involved in the anti-war movement, but as she explained, "I left their circle because of the issue of violence/nonviolence, which is actually a debate about tactics."14 To her, the war had more to do with endemic racism—evident for instance in the fact that the majority of front-line infantry were "black and brown"—and she found herself more interested in what critics like Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and American soldiers themselves had to say about the conflict. However, in working with soldiers in order to "understand the war from the inside," Sumi grew troubled that even those who opposed the war "came back with a hatred of Vietnamese," which further reoriented her anti-war activism and outreach with soldiers.15 At Camp Pendleton, for instance, she helped create a newsletter called "Attitude Check," intended to educate and enlighten soldiers that was distributed at bus stops and barracks doorsteps.16

In other words, the Vietnam War and domestic racial and class issues all emanated from the forces of white supremacy and imperialism. At the same time, newly radicalized Asian Americans wanted to delve into their unique histories and identities. "B.I." worked in the fields of Fairfield and "knew what they were saying about the low wages, and the twelve- to fourteen-hour day ... I learned later on that Pilipinos were involved in organizing the first farmworkers' strike. And that made me very proud..."26 Young Filipino Americans also unearthed Carlos Bulosan's America is in the Heart, using the book to connect with their roots in America. "Through Bulosan," remembered Estella Habal, "we learned that the elderly and the young people shared internationalist perspectives, common experiences, and a rediscovery of the Philippines."27 Originally published in 1946, America is in the Heart was reissued in 1973 and achieved a wider circulation than it ever had before. The recovery of old texts and study of these histories—especially working-class histories—also represented for many young Asian Americans a rejection of the middle class and assimilationist strivings of their parents' generation as well as their own aspirations for whiteness. As "J.M.," an Asian American woman, said, "I was going with a white man whom I met at Berkeley, whom I eventually married. And so I don't know how to explain this to you, it seems very disorganized and very chaotic, but at the same time I was aspiring to be White, wanting a white child, wanting to marry a white man, I was simultaneously being impacted by all these events that were challenging me as an Asian woman."28
Got rid of quota system, instead now comes from economic analysis. Introduced work visas.

From the end of World War II to the 1965 Immigration Act, new Asian immigrants differed greatly from their pre-exclusion counterparts. Whereas uneducated and unskilled people primarily valued for their physical labor once dominated the immigrant stream, they would be eclipsed by adoptees, military brides, students, and skilled workers during the 1950s and 1960s as Asian immigration, and the immigration system in general, were reoriented around political and economic exigencies shaped by the Cold War.

This chapter discusses Asian America during the early Cold War years, with a focus on the period from the end of World War II to the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965. In American history, this time is associated with economic prosperity, the baby boom, and a return to domesticity. It was also a conservative era whose politics were shaped by Cold War worries. Asian Americans were deeply affected by these developments. For instance, after China "fell" to Mao's forces in 1949,

In contrast to military brides and adoptees, the other main groups of immigrants in the early Cold War years—students, scholars, and skilled professionals—were drawn from the elite strata of Asian societies. This migration, which expanded after legislative reform in 1965, was driven by Cold War internationalism as well as U.S. economic demands for educated and technically skilled human labor. Until the 1940s, the United States was primarily interested in importing poorly educated laborers, but having emerged from the war as a mature, industrial nation locked in a competition for global influence with the Soviet Union, its needs changed. Policy adjustments included reserving 30 percent of the slots under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 for scientists and skilled professionals and 50 percent of the quotas under the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 for skilled immigrants, specifying "college professors, chemists, meteorologists, physicians and surgeons, dentists, nurses, veterinarians, engineers, tool designers, draftsmen."41 The latter legislation also allowed foreign exchange students in the United States to apply for permanent status and naturalization as quota immigrants after earning their degrees and securing sponsorship by an American firm, a provision utilized by thousands of students from East, South, and Southeast Asia.42 The Cold War imperative to spread U.S. influence around the world gave rise to additional pull factors, such as a program set up by the National Science Foundation in 1957, which awarded scholarships to international students undertaking graduate work in science and engineering at American universities.

This chapter examines the experiences of Southeast Asians who settled in America in the 1970s to 1990s, discussing how the war engendered a "refugee crisis" that prompted far-reaching changes in U.S. policy, and describing early experiences of refugees as they settled in the United States. The chapter also explores how the post-Vietnam refugee migration added to and diversified Asian America, ethnically, culturally, politically, geographically, and otherwise. Along with the effects of the 1965 Immigration Act (see Chapter 12), the presence and growth of this population gave rise to new opportunities and challenges in the development of an "Asian American" community, identity, and history. Attentive to how U.S.-born Asian Americans became cognizant and critical of the racist aspects of the Vietnam War, the chapter also considers the war's impact on domestic racial politics broadly and Asian American racial and ethnic politics particularly. In this regard, as well as its attention to the lives of refugees in America, the chapter goes beyond standard histories of the Vietnam War that focus on foreign policy and the anti-war movement to shed light on its impact on immigration, race, and the evolution of "Asian America." Its focus on Southeast Asian migration to America, furthermore, underscores the Vietnam War's impact on the lives of Southeast Asian people, something often elided in diplomatic and political histories of the conflict.
Vincent Chin murdered by 2 white guys. They got a slap on the wrist, 3 years probation. Then due to double jeapordy they could not be retried. So protests broke out and then civil charges were brought against them for 2 counts of violating Chin's rights but they were both eventually cleared of all charges. Chin's family filed a lawsuit and won like 4 million dollars.

Some of the resentment against high-achieving Asian Americans bubbled over into racialized violence, an increasingly pressing concern from the 1980s onward. To be sure, anti-Asian violence has a long history in the United States, some of which has been discussed in earlier chapters, but the issue took on new dimensions in the late twentieth century. For one, in the wake of the more recent occurrences of racialized violence, Asian Americans engaged in pan-Asian mobilization to demand justice and lobby for greater protections. Previously, anti-Asian violence tended to target particular ethnic groups, and those who belonged to different groups could, and often did, distance themselves from the victims. One of the more well-known examples of this was the practice by persons of Korean and Chinese descent wearing buttons to disidentify from Japanese Americans during World War II. Things changed in the late twentieth century, as racial incidents seemed to take on a more random or general character, and Asian Americans were, furthermore, better poised organizationally to take action through panethnic strategies.
Acts of what Bill Ong Hing terms "vigilante racism" against Asians occurred across the country toward members of different groups seemingly with alarming frequency. The following descriptions of a selection of incidents convey just a sense of the climate facing Asians in America during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1987, a group of white students at the University of Connecticut spat on and taunted eight Asian students on their way to a dance.6 In 1989 Patrick Purdy, a white man who blamed Asians for taking jobs from native whites, shot to death five Asian children—mostly of Southeast Asian descent—at Cleveland School in Stockton, California. Also in the late 1980s, in Jersey City, New Jersey a gang of white youths calling themselves the "Dotbusters" terrorized South Asian residents through acts of vandalism and physical assault. Several victims were beaten into a coma. As members said in a public letter, "We will go to any extreme to get Indians to move out ... If I'm walking down the street and I see a Hindu and the setting is right, I will just hit him or her. We plan some of our more extreme attacks ... We use the phone book and look up the name Patel."7 In 1997, a group of Asians was denied service at a Denny's restaurant in Syracuse and then beaten in the parking lot.8

Until the 1990s, the evidence of anti-Asian violence was mostly anecdotal, due to the limitations of hate crimes statistics gathering and the underreporting of incidents. However, some clear patterns started to emerge. For instance, in major cities such as Boston and Philadelphia by the mid-1990s, Asians were found to suffer the highest per capita rate of hate crimes.9 According to Bill Ong Hing, these crimes reflected and perpetuated the "de-Americanization" of Asian Americans, in which attackers "base their assault on loyalty and foreignness ... In the minds of the ... self appointed enforcers of true Americanism, their victims are immigrants or foreigners even though they may in fact be citizens by birth or naturalization. Irrespective of the victim's community's longstanding status in the country, its members are regarded as perpetual foreigners."10
Often cited as a turning point after which Asian Americans, the media, and policy-makers began to take more seriously the issue of racialized violence was the 1982 killing of Vincent Chin. This crime occurred against the backdrop of domestic and international developments in which Asian Americans became increasingly vulnerable. Since the 1960s, Japan had been in the midst of a "postwar economic miracle" and became a major manufacturing power. Americans lauded this development, but by the late 1970s, some of Japan's industries were competing with U.S. producers. American manufacturers and trade protectionists complained that Japan was engaging in unfair trade practices and flooding U.S. markets with cheap exports. This economic protectionism often manifested as general anti-Japan sentiment, which in turn expressed itself as a generalized xenophobia against people of Asian ancestry in the United States, setting the stage for the Vincent Chin killing.
Chin was a Chinese adoptee whose father had served in World War II and whose mother had been a war bride. The family lived in Detroit, Michigan, home to a very small Chinese American community. In June 1982, the twenty-seven-year-old engineer went out with a small group of friends to celebrate his upcoming wedding. They went to a strip bar called the Fancy Pants where in the course of the evening they got into a physical altercation with two white locals, Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz, both unemployed autoworkers. Witnesses in the club overheard Ebens say, "It's because of you mother****ers that we're out of work," apparently believing mistakenly that Chin was Japanese. The fight went outside into the street where Ebens and Nitz brutally beat Chin with a baseball bat. Chin was hospitalized and, several days later, he died.

Almost as shocking as the crime was the leniency with which Chin's attackers were treated. In the state criminal case, in which the judge expressed far more compassion toward Ebens and Nitz than Chin, the assailants received three years' probation and $3,000 fines. A subsequent federal civil rights trial in 1984 acquitted Nitz and convicted Ebens, but that decision was overturned on an appeal. A retrial in Cincinnati, Ohio three years later found Ebens innocent of all counts. Although it was small consolation, a 1987 civil suit was settled out of court in which Ebens and Nitz agreed to pay $50,000 (Nitz) and $1.5 million (Ebens) to Chin's mother for lost wages. Neither spent a day in jail for beating Vincent Chin to death.
Some of the consequences of the Chin killing and trial for Asian Americans are discussed below, but suffice it to say the brutality of the crime and callousness with which his life was treated, both by Ebens and Nitz as well as the courts, stunned and awakened many Asian Americans across the country. It was, explains Mae Ngai, "a stark counterpoint to the stereotype that Asian Americans were a 'model minority.'"11 "The whole mood was total anti-Japanese," said activist Helen Zia, who lived in Detroit around the time of the Chin murder. "People who had Japanese cars were getting their cars shot at, and it didn't matter if they were white. And then if you were Asian, it was assumed that you were Japanese just like Vincent and there was personal hostility toward us ... So, when Vincent was killed it was a confirmation to all Asian Americans there in Detroit, the antagonism that we were feeling. I felt totally like a moving target."12

As mentioned, part of the backdrop of the Vincent Chin murder was growing concern and rhetoric about U.S.-Japan economic competition. Indeed through much of the 1980s and 1990s, incidents of anti-Asian racism in America frequently occurred against perceived threats about Asian global dominance or competition. Not only did such feelings contribute to the continued foreignization of Asian Americans, encouraging observers to link Asian Americans' activities and success in terms of foreign traits or agendas, but they also made them vulnerable to pernicious consequences of such racial profiling.
There were several signs of a resurgence of "yellow peril" fears in American life during the late twentieth century, with regard to U.S. economic strength as well as paranoia about Asian governments trying to infiltrate the American political process. In one episode from the 1970s, popularly referred to as "Koreagate," South Korean government officials were accused of bribing American legislators through lavish gifts and parties in the hopes of ensuring that the United States would continue to provide economic support to their country. Although other countries had engaged in similar lobbying, "the Koreans were different," said the Washington Post, "because of their persistence and their often heavy-handed methods."13 Several individuals came under particular suspicion, including Suzi Thomson, a Korean American typist who worked for then-House Speaker Carl Albert, whose main misdeed, it seemed, was working in Washington, D.C. while Korean.14
The incorporation of Korean children into white middle-class families and the positive coverage these adoptions received, moreover, signaled more accepting attitudes about the place of Asians in America and by extension the possibilities of pluralism. When framed as compassionate acts of rescue, Korean adoptions also projected American moral authority and U.S.-Asia bonds. Finally, the migration of Korean adoptees underscored general features of Asian migration during the 1950s and 1960s. From the end of World War II to the 1965 Immigration Act, new Asian immigrants differed greatly from their pre-exclusion counterparts. Whereas uneducated and unskilled people primarily valued for their physical labor once dominated the immigrant stream, they would be eclipsed by adoptees, military brides, students, and skilled workers during the 1950s and 1960s as Asian immigration, and the immigration system in general, were reoriented around political and economic exigencies shaped by the Cold War.
This chapter discusses Asian America during the early Cold War years, with a focus on the period from the end of World War II to the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965. In American history, this time is associated with economic prosperity, the baby boom, and a return to domesticity. It was also a conservative era whose politics were shaped by Cold War worries. Asian Americans were deeply affected by these developments. For instance, after China "fell" to Mao's forces in 1949, the United States devoted much of its attention to resisting Communism's spread elsewhere in Asia, an extension of which was to persuade the American public both of the menace of Communism and the importance of Asia and its people to U.S. interests. On the one hand, fears of international Communism resulted in the singling out of Chinese and other Asian American leftists for persecution, but on the other, as Americans grew sensitive to charges of racism lest it be wielded against them in Communist propaganda, and realized the imperative of forging friendships with countries they hoped to "save" from Communism, they came to espouse liberal ideologies, including the notion that Asians could be part of the American melting pot. The early Cold War period was also a turning point for Asian immigration, during which exclusionary practices were gradually reversed and a significant rise in new migration occurred, setting the stage for sweeping legislative reform in the mid-1960s. This new immigration and the context of the Cold War opened the way for Asians to attain unprecedented visibility and success in mainstream life, although some of this success was a function of the skills and privilege with which they entered the United States. Connected to the heightened attention to Asian success and Americanism were constructions of the Asian American "model minority." Although touted as a positive development for Asian Americans and a larger symbol of racial progress, this stereotype implicitly disparaged other minorities, especially African Americans, and only exalted Asian Americans who embodied an anti-radical, middle-class, conformist position.

The most resonant writings about Asia and Asian people were those that appealed to readers' emotions and invited them to take action. So-called "virtual adoptions," promoted by organizations such as the Christian Children's Fund (CCF), enabled Americans to participate in the "rescue" of Asian children simply by making small monetary donations and participating in letter exchange Founded in 1938 by Presbyterian minister Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke to help Chinese children orphaned by the Sino-Japanese war, by 1955, the CCF had expanded into 15 countries. It reached out to people through advertisements in national magazines, often with graphic photographs of maimed children.
Another notable outreach campaign that sought to cement emotional ties between Americans and Asians was the Hiroshima Maidens Project. Launched and publicized by Norman Cousins in the Saturday Review in 1953, it brought twenty-five young women disfigured by the atomic bomb to the United States to receive plastic surgery.5 Because the project raised funds from the public, Cousins presented it as a way for ordinary Americans to participate in world events.6 Depicted as innocent virgins and victims, the "Hiroshima maidens" fit into the larger construction of Japan as feminized and wounded dependents to the United States' masculine and benevolent shield. At the same time, helping the Japanese women heal from their scars healed Americans' own psychological scars about the suffering they had inflicted on them in the first place.

Also adding to the U.S. Asian population and holding a similar place in the American Cold War imagination were Asian adoptees, especially those from South Korea. American inter-country adoptions from Asia were an extension of practices originating in Europe during World War II, when the U.S. Committee for the Care of European Children facilitated the adoption of 4,177 European children from war-torn countries between 1940 and 1952.27 By the 1950s, Asian adoption became a phenomenon in itself and helped propel the Asian population in the United States in the Cold War years. Between 1953 and 1963 Americans adopted 8,812 Asian children. As far as the legal channels through which they entered, early adoptees gained admission to the United States through ad hoc measures, usually special military or congressional clearance as well as provisions in refugee laws.28 In 1957 amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act authorized unlimited orphan visas still subject to national quotas, and a subsequent Act in 1961 made non-quota visas permanently available for foreign-born adopted children.29
Interest in Asian children especially focused on Koreans. The Korean War had resulted in the separation of ten million families, widowing of half a million wives, and abandonment of tens of thousands of children. Many of the latter were, moreover, the mixed race offspring of American GIs and Korean women. National publications ran articles about the orphans and the humanitarian work being done on their behalf (with names like "Operation Kiddy Car," and "Operation Winter").30 Especially pivotal in bringing the attention of Korean and other Asian orphans to Americans' attention were Henry and Bertha Holt, an Oregon couple who adopted eight Korean children after the Korean War. They also arranged a baby lift mission that flew ninety-one Korean children to the United States and established the Holt Adoption Program in 1956, which expanded into the Holt International Children's Services, the first U.S. agency to handle international adoptions.31 In her 1956 memoir, The Seed from the East, Bertha Holt described her odyssey to Korea and larger mission in the following way:
Korea ... 1954 ... Thousands of children suffered in crowded, understaffed and poorly supplied orphanages—children, it seemed, that no one wanted. But God gave one couple a heart to love these children. This most ordinary family—a lumberman with a heart condition, a farming wife and six children—changed the world when they adopted eight Korean-Amerasian children.32

By the mid-1950s, the attention brought to Korean children by the Holts and other writers as well as the institutional and legal mechanisms put in place to facilitate adoptions resulted in a dramatic rise in the entry of Korean children to join American families. From 1955 to 1961, Americans adopted 4,190 mixed-race and full-blooded Korean children.33 Each year during the 1960s, Korean children were adopted by the hundreds, and the following decade by the thousands.
For prospective adoptive parents, a variety of factors drew them to Korean children. Reaching out to black prospective adoptive parents, Ebony magazine featured an article in September 1955, titled "How to Adopt Korean Babies." Appealing to their sense of racial justice, it emphasized the bleakness of mixed-race children's lives because in Korea "racial purity is deeply entrenched in social fetish."34 Amid the baby boom, adoption also appealed to infertile couples and families wishing to add more children to their households.35 Although the image of Asian children being raised by non-Asian parents disrupted the ideal of mono-racial (read white) American families, their coming together in nuclear, heterosexual units normalized both the Asian child and otherwise childless parents. As Arissa Oh has stated, "[the adopted child] verified her adoptive parents' worthiness for inclusion in the nation at a time when status as a parent was equated with citizenship."36
The adoption rhetoric simultaneously appealed to Americans' yearning to be parents and good cold warriors. The agency World Vision ran an ad in 1956, which read, "A Korean Orphan for You: Many Inquire, 'How can I help Korean Orphans?' Although few can bring them to this country, YOU can be a Mother or Daddy to your own child in a Christian orphanage in Korea ... Yours for the asking!"37 Additionally, by reaching out to Korean orphans, Americans could gain a better understanding of Korea and overcome their own prejudices. An article appearing in the Christian Science Monitor in 1953 titled, "GIs Clothe South American Waifs," said:
American soldiers—who once called all Koreans "gooks"—now are engaged in a number of projects which indicate that affection and respect have largely replaced their earlier skepticism. Many GIs who find Korean customs confusing and Korean politics unsavory are putting their efforts into the most promising of many unofficial relief activities: aid for South Korea's ragged, appealing children. For these soldiers, the tattered waifs with the beguiling faces are the most understandable feature of the Korean scene.38

The adoption of children from other Asian nations was likewise framed as acts of compassion against the backdrop of U.S. global leadership during the Cold War. Pearl Buck's Welcome House, the first transracial adoption agency, brought to America Asian and part-Asian children as part of its liberal, antiracist, anticommunist project. Buck, herself an adoptive parent of Amerasian children, was distressed at the spread of Communism in China and saw international and transracial adoption as a way to facilitate friendship between the United States and Asia.39 Initially focusing on children born in the United States, by the late 1950s Welcome House coordinated international adoptions for children from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Adoption programs and efforts to reform immigration laws to allow adoptees' entry, furthermore, drew little opposition, as potential criticism was blunted by GI babies' presumptive American paternity, and as well as the powerful image of "innocent, imperiled children" and the "self-evident" imperative to save them.40 Furthermore, as children they did not pose the same kind of economic and political threat ascribed to adult immigrants. Like the rhetoric around war brides, adoptees solidified the narrative that "love conquers all," including divisions of race and nationality, while glossing over histories of imperialism, racism, patriarchy, and exploitation in the adoption market.
In contrast to military brides and adoptees, the other main groups of immigrants in the early Cold War years—students, scholars, and skilled professionals—were drawn from the elite strata of Asian societies. This migration, which expanded after legislative reform in 1965, was driven by Cold War internationalism as well as U.S. economic demands for educated and technically skilled human labor. Until the 1940s, the United States was primarily interested in importing poorly educated laborers, but having emerged from the war as a mature, industrial nation locked in a competition for global influence with the Soviet Union, its needs changed. Policy adjustments included reserving 30 percent of the slots under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 for scientists and skilled professionals and 50 percent of the quotas under the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 for skilled immigrants, specifying "college professors, chemists, meteorologists, physicians and surgeons, dentists, nurses, veterinarians, engineers, tool designers, draftsmen."41 The latter legislation also allowed foreign exchange students in the United States to apply for permanent status and naturalization as quota immigrants after earning their degrees and securing sponsorship by an American firm, a provision utilized by thousands of students from East, South, and Southeast Asia.42 The Cold War imperative to spread U.S. influence around the world gave rise to additional pull factors, such as a program set up by the National Science Foundation in 1957, which awarded scholarships to international students undertaking graduate work in science and engineering at American universities.
The earliest Chinese students and professionals who immigrated to the United States during the Cold War years had actually come during World War II when the Nationalist government was in power and encouraged study and training in America as part of its push for modernization. With China's transition to Communism in 1949, however, these individuals, who were in the United States on temporary visas, now sought status as political refugees so they could stay permanently.43 These included five thousand so-called "stranded students" and some of China's most illustrious and talented professionals, such as Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-tao Lee, the joint winners of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1957, An Wang of Wang Laboratories, and architect I.M. Pei.44 According to Madeline Hsu, 3,645 Chinese residents—students, officials, sailors, other temporary visa holders—were able to adjust their status, and 3,517 students and 119 scholars from China received congressional funding for living expenses, tuition, and medical care.45 The latter was part of a State Department Committee on Educational Interchange Policy that supported "humanitarian and national interests," but also clearly favored people with desirable skills and training.
Other Asian governments cooperated with American agencies to encourage student and professional migration, with the intention that emigrants would return to their home countries and apply their skills and expertise there. In the 1950s, the Korean government started organizing programs to send doctors and nurses abroad to gain experience, through which a large number of Yonsei University medical school graduates, for instance, were able to work in the United States. In the Philippines, a large number of women nurses joined the professional migration. Their entries were facilitated by the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP), which was launched by the U.S. government in 1948 to draw international students and workers, and thereby foster better understandings of the United States in other countries. Participants worked or studied in sponsoring U.S. institutions, receiving a monthly stipend, and after up to two years, would return to their countries. Filipino nurses, sponsored by the American Nurses Association and individual hospitals, were one of many groups to take part in the EVP, but by the late 1960s, they dominated the program, and between 1956 and 1969, over eleven thousand participated.46 By the mid-1960s the use of Filipino exchange nurses in the United States had become so commonplace that the Philippine Department of Labor described the EVP as a "loophole for the circumvention of the United States immigration law."47
Hawaii made into a state, large Asian population scared people because they didn't want/ were afraid of Asian senators and representatives.

hile the backdrop of Cold War ideology and economic expansion had varying effects on the lives of Asians in America, by the late 1950s outside observers were noting their remarkable strides toward achieving mainstream integration and middle class respectability. This period saw a number of Asian American "firsts" in various fields, and many of the vestiges of structural discrimination were on their way out. In addition to the immigration policy already discussed, in 1946 California voters rejected Proposition 15, which proposed to make the state's alien land law part of its constitution. The Pacific Citizen said this represented the "final repudiation for the native fascists on the 'Japanese Issue.'"85 Two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt two decisive blows against institutional racism, by striking down California's alien land law and racially restrictive covenants.
The most striking areas of Asian American progress in the years after World War II were residential and economic mobility. With regard to housing, Asian Americans were moving in unprecedented numbers into previously all-white neighborhoods, indicating that cases like Sam Yoshihara's were not simply Cold War-driven public relations gestures. In San Francisco, as Chinatown expanded beyond its borders and old and new residents sought alternative residential options, Chinese started to move into neighborhoods such as the Richmond and Sunset. In turn, living in these residential and suburban areas meant their children attended better schools, which then facilitated their social and economic mobility. The movement of Japanese Americans into the mainstream economy and white-collar occupations was especially pronounced. In Los Angeles as early as 1948, just 30 percent of workers were employed by co-ethnics. Other changes from prewar patterns included business owners increasingly drawing their incomes from outside Little Tokyo, the entry of educated Nisei into professional and technical fields, and an overall decline in Japanese participation in farming.86
New immigration also played a role in driving up the socioeconomic profile of Asian Americans, especially with the entry of students and skilled workers in the 1950s and 1960s. For example, from 1940 and 1970, the percentage of Chinese Americans in professional and technical fields grew from 2.8 percent to 26.5 percent, and a quarter of Chinese had completed four or more years of college, compared to 11.6 percent of whites.87 In Chinese America, the recent skilled and educated immigrants, called "uptown Chinese", tended to set themselves apart from and look down on longtime Chinese Americans, called "downtown Chinese." As sociologist Rose Hum Lee explained in 1960, "On the whole, American Chinese who have little occasion to interact with the students and intellectuals from China exhibit little interest in them, and vice versa."88
An unprecedented degree of mainstream recognition accompanied Asian Americans' changing socioeconomic position. A handful achieved important "firsts" in electoral politics. Especially notable in this regard was Dalip Singh Saund, a Punjabi Sikh who had immigrated in 1919 and in 1956 became the first Asian American elected to Congress. A former farmer in the Imperial Valley who had gone on to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics from UC Berkeley, Saund had been politically active in the campaign for Indian naturalization, and became a citizen in 1949. He held the seat representing the 29th District in Los Angeles County in the U.S. House of Representatives, and went on to serve three terms.89 Also during this period, Hawaii produced the first two Asian Americans to serve in the U.S. Senate. In 1959, Chinese American Hiram Fong became the first elected, and he was followed by Nisei Daniel Inouye in 1963. In 1965 Patsy Mink, also of Hawaii, became the first woman of color elected to Congress. At the local and statewide levels, major strides were achieved in these years as well. In 1962, Chinese American Wing Luke became the first elected official in the Pacific Northwest when he won a seat on the Seattle City Council. Alfred Song, a Hawaiian Korean, became the first Asian American elected to the California Assembly in 1961 and then to the state senate in 1966.90
Asian American writers also broke new ground in the late 1940s and 1950s as readers developed a newfound interest in their lives against the unfolding postwar multicultural orthodoxy. Particularly prominent were Filipino immigrant Carlos Bulosan, Nisei John Okada, and Chinese Americans Pardee Lowe and Jade Snow Wong whose autobiographical or semiautobiographical accounts about being Asian in America were published by major East Coast publishing houses and enjoyed glowing reviews and national success. Jade Snow Wong's book, Fifth Chinese Daughter, was selected by the Book of the Month Club and Christian Herald Family Book Shelf for November 1950, and was described by the New York Times as a "gravely charming and deeply understanding self-portrait by a brilliant young woman who grew up midway between two cultures."91
attempted to get rid of paper sons system

During this period, anticommunist paranoia merged with latent xenophobia, leading officials to turn their attention to immigration and beef up federal power to exclude and deport subversives. The McCarran Act (Internal Security Act) of 1950 permitted the president to declare internal security emergencies, during which the attorney general could suspend habeas corpus and apprehend and detain suspects. The McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, although liberalizing some aspects of immigration and naturalization policy, added to the list excludable classes, eliminated the statute of limitations for nearly all deportable offenses, and reenacted provisions of the Internal Security Act to expel aliens deemed "prejudicial to the public interest."73 It also closed a loophole in the Nationality Act of 1940 that allowed immigration petitioners to seek temporary residency through the courts if their applications were denied.
In this context, Chinese students and experts came under heightened scrutiny for fear that they would return to China and use their knowledge against the United States. The federal government, for instance, barred Tsien Hsue-shen, one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, from leaving the country in August 1950.74 Chinese seamen were also singled out for surveillance and deportation following the FBI's release of a report in October 1951, called "Movement of Communist Chinese." The report, which was forwarded to the INS, alleged that the Seamen's Union of Hong Kong was controlled by Communists and expediting the entry of Chinese to the United States.75
These fears of Communist subterfuge merged with longstanding worries about Chinese illegal entry in the so-called "Chinese Confession Program." This link was initially made in a December 1955 report to the State Department by the American consul general in Hong Kong, Everett F. Drumright. In it, he alleged rampant immigration fraud in Hong Kong and "a criminal conspiracy" by the People's Republic of China "to evade the laws of the United States through networks in Hong Kong, New York, and San Francisco.76 He furthermore elaborated that a "fantastic system of passport and visa fraud" was in place and characterized Chinese people as "[lacking] a concept equivalent to the western concept of an oath."77 Drumright's office was overwhelmed with about 117,000 applications from Chinese seeking entry to the U.S. through derivative citizenship, most of which, he believed, were fraudulent. He also argued that this system was being perpetrated by Communists to send spies to the United States.78 FBI director J. Edgar Hoover validated these allegations in 1955, saying, "The large number of Chinese entering this country as immigrants provides Red China with a channel to dispatch to the United States undercover agents on intelligence assignments."79
The INS, which was not originally alarmed about Communist infiltration, saw the consul's warnings as an opening to aggressively break up fraudulent Chinese immigration networks. In the 1950s it was still overwhelmed with reviewing applications that claimed family connections in the United States. Denied applicants could turn to the courts, out of whose proceedings—which were costly to the government—many emerged with discharge papers that constituted documentation of native birth citizenship, which were in turn used to sponsor others as "relatives."80
Toward stopping this practice, the INS announced the Chinese Confession Program, to be carried out with the cooperation of several government agencies.81 This was an informal program with neither official policies nor guidelines. Reaching out through advertisements and civic leaders, officials asked Chinese Americans who had fraudulently established their U.S. citizenship or had otherwise entered the country illegally to come forward. They were told if they confessed and provided full disclosure on every relative and friend who had also entered illegally, they could regularize their status. By the time the program ended in 1966 13,895 people confessed, leading to the exposure of 22,083 others and the closure of 11,294 potential paper son slots. Considering the Chinese American population on the mainland at the time was about 118,000, this program had a very deep impact. Most of the confessors were able to stay, but a few, usually those engaged in "subversive" political activities, were deported.
Because the program was never official, the potential for abuse was widespread. Agents entered Chinatowns and randomly stopped people on the streets to see their documents. As Maurice Chuck of San Francisco explained, "They would stop you on the street. Harassed you and asked you all sorts of questions, push you around. It became a daily part of our lives in Chinatown during that time."82 Furthermore, although government officials claimed they were not interested in entrapment and that confessors would benefit, no formal provisions were made for the amnesty of confessors, and other details remained vague. Confessors had to surrender documents of citizenship to the INS and sign papers stating they were amenable to deportation if their confessions were denied.83 Participating in the program also divided families, as confessing always entailed implicating others. Furthermore, because the United States had no relationship with China, it could not deport people there, so instead sent them to Hong Kong.
The ordeals of Lew Bok Yin and Lee Ying illustrate the devastation the Confession Program wreaked on people's lives. On paper, Lew had been a naturalized U.S. citizen since 1902. According to INS records, seventeen people had gained entry as his sons and grandsons and their wives, and authorities suspected that some of these were not really his descendants. They approached several of them, threatening deportation if they did not make full confessions about their true status. After admitting their fraud, some faced deportation hearings, and all were barred from sponsoring the future immigration of family members. In the case of Lee Ying, the co-owner of a theater in San Francisco, the FBI targeted him after learning the theater showed films imported from Russia and China and sponsored events for Communists and pro-Communists. As Lee had entered the United States as a paper son of Hui Suey, the FBI interrogated Hui, and after extracting his confession of fraudulent sponsorship, Lee was deported.84
The recognition and celebration of the 442nd—it was even the focus of a major Hollywood film released by MGM in 1951 called Go For Broke—signaled a turning point, not just in perceptions of Japanese Americans during World War II, but also in the discourse on race relations. The soldiers' sacrifices and their positive media coverage made a strong impression on U.S. officials and the public. After Kazuo Masuda died while fighting in Italy, Gen. Joseph Stilwell presented his family with a distinguished service cross and praised Masuda and other Nisei for their service. Stilwell also added that racial tolerance was now a necessity. "Now the war is over, but the responsibility of our nation is not finished ... We must build a true democracy here in our land [and] the peaceful world."

Another group of internees released served in the Army. Throughout the war, the JACL had been lobbying for the right of Nisei to join the military, and WRA director Dillon Meyer looked for ways to show the public that most Japanese Americans were loyal. Despite objections from John DeWitt and others that inducting Nisei would undercut the rationale for internment, most top officials eventually agreed that the propaganda value of Japanese in American uniforms could give the United States an upper hand against Japan. By the end of 1942, the U.S. Army decided to create an all-Nisei combat unit to serve in Europe. FDR supported the action as a blow against racial bigotry in America, stating in February 1943: "No loyal citizen of the United States should be denied the democratic right to exercise his citizenship, regardless of his ancestry ... Americanism is a matter of the mind and the heart; Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry."163 After Army officials' initial attempt to secure recruits from the camps resulted in just 1,700 volunteers—compared to about 10,000 from Hawaii—they announced in January 1944 that the draft would be opened to Nisei. Most ended up working for the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) or joining the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The 442nd was the successor to the 100th Infantry Battalion, which had been organized in summer 1942 with Nisei from Hawaii. It fought in Europe and went on to become the most decorated unit of its size during the war. This distinction, however, came at great cost, as the unit suffered a casualty rate six times higher than that of the U.S. military at large.164

The recognition and celebration of the 442nd—it was even the focus of a major Hollywood film released by MGM in 1951 called Go For Broke—signaled a turning point, not just in perceptions of Japanese Americans during World War II, but also in the discourse on race relations. The soldiers' sacrifices and their positive media coverage made a strong impression on U.S. officials and the public. After Kazuo Masuda died while fighting in Italy, Gen. Joseph Stilwell presented his family with a distinguished service cross and praised Masuda and other Nisei for their service. Stilwell also added that racial tolerance was now a necessity. "Now the war is over, but the responsibility of our nation is not finished ... We must build a true democracy here in our land [and] the peaceful world." Additionally, in October 1945, the Los Angeles Area Council for the American Veterans Committee passed a resolution calling for an end to anti-Japanese hate crimes, which they called "un-American persecution."165

The 442nd was the successor to the 100th Infantry Battalion, which had been organized in summer 1942 with Nisei from Hawaii. It fought in Europe and went on to become the most decorated unit of its size during the war. This distinction, however, came at great cost, as the unit suffered a casualty rate six times higher than that of the U.S. military at large.164
The Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act, passed on May 23, 1975, under President Gerald Ford, was a response to the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War. Under this act, approximately 130,000 refugees from South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were allowed to enter the United States under a special status, and the act allotted for special relocation aid and financial assistance.

With regard to the history of refugees, the terms "Southeast Asian" and "Indochinese" are most often employed to describe the people who fled Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Both have their problems. "Indochinese" is a relic of French colonialism, and "Southeast Asian" also encompasses Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, and Brunei. The populations of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, furthermore, represent centuries of intermixture, conquest, and exchange. The Vietnamese, for instance, draw from a number of origins and ethnic groups, including Vietnamese, Mongolian, Chinese, Thai, Austro-Asian, Melanesian, and Negrito.4 Cambodia likewise consists of many ethnicities and languages, with Khmer being the dominant group.5 In Laos, the Lao people represent the largest ethnicity, but the Hmong, a minority group concentrated in the hill country and also found in Vietnam and Thailand, would be a major part of the refugee exodus. Acknowledging these inexactitudes of terminology, I will use "Southeast Asian" and "Indochinese" to refer to people from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos who fled their countries due to war and political turbulence stemming from the United States' involvement in the region.

After about two and a half centuries as an informal presence in Southeast Asia, France colonized southern Vietnam (Cochinchina) in 1862, Cambodia in 1863, and central and northern Vietnam (Annam and Tonkin) in 1883. In 1887 it amalgamated these areas as the Indochinese Union, adding to it Laos in 1893. French rule transformed the region, albeit unevenly and differentially. In Vietnam, which was made into a major rice-exporting area, the colonial system elevated to power a small class of French officials, settler colonists, and indigenous Vietnamese landlords. In Indochina, the preferential treatment that Vietnamese received over Laotians and Cambodians was evident in the kinds of educational opportunities and administrative appointments distributed among the colonized populations. Laos, considered the least important colony, also experienced the least amount of change compared to other parts of Indochina.6
Indigenous resistance against the French surfaced with the onset of colonial rule. In Vietnam by the 1920s and 1930s, a modern anti-colonial nationalism had emerged, and encompassed many political parties and organizations.7 Among the leaders was Ho Chi Minh, the scion of a scholar-gentry family from central Vietnam who had been deeply influenced by the late nineteenth and early twentieth century intellectual and critic of French rule Phan Boi Chau. Traveling the world while on a French ship working as a cook's assistant, Ho eventually moved to Paris in 1917 where he participated in anti-colonial political activities. As such, he was the first Vietnamese to join the Young Socialists in France and he later applied his Marxist-Leninist learnings to conditions in Vietnam.8 In the early 1930s, he went to Moscow, where he met with other anti-colonial intellectuals and nationalists from around the world and found support for his cause.
Ho returned to Vietnam with the outbreak of World War II to lead the Communist wing of the anti-colonial movement. In May 1941 the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) established the Viet Minh, or Vietnamese Independence League, which soon fell under Ho's leadership. In mid-1943 the Viet Minh struck and made a bid for power, and two years later a critical opportunity surfaced with Japan's coup d'état and subsequent surrender in Indochina. The Viet Minh captured Hanoi in August 1945 and went on to control Hue, Danang, and Saigon. With the abdication of Emperor Dao, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed Vietnam's independence and established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV).
After the war's end, however, France wished to re-colonize Indochina and reasserted its control in Cambodia and Laos. Vietnamese resistance, bolstered by assistance from the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, led to the First Indochina War of 1945-54.9 After nine years of fighting, France surrendered to the DRV, an outcome that shocked the world. At China's and the Soviet Union's urging, the country was divided at the 17th parallel, with the DRV ruling in the North and the newly named Republic of Vietnam controlling the South. A general election scheduled for July 1956 was to determine the country's future.

The displacement of people in Southeast Asia, which did not really come to the U.S. media's attention until the late 1970s, had been decades in the making and was breathtaking in scope. In the early years of the First Indochina War, about 55,000 ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia and Laos, whose ancestral homes were in North Vietnam, fled to nearby Thailand. Those with political sympathies to the Viet Minh were eventually repatriated to North Vietnam. The end of the conflict in 1955 and division of Vietnam triggered a larger flood.16 More than 900,000 people left the North for the South, the majority being Catholics and well-to-do people who did not wish to live under Communist rule. Meanwhile, between 130,000 and 140,000 Communist cadres, military personnel, and their dependents moved from the South to the North while 10,000 to 15,000 Communists stayed in the South. As result of the Second Indochina War, which saw ground fighting and bombing raids as well as the use of napalm and defoliants, about twelve million South Vietnamese, or about half of the country's population, was displaced.17 It is unknown how many were displaced in the North, but estimates suggest it was a much larger percentage than in the South.
The Civil War in Cambodia had also created a massive displaced population. In that war, about five hundred thousand people died and at least three million were uprooted from their homes.18 After he fall of Phnom Penh, Americans and several hundred Cambodian elites were immediately flown out as the rest of the city was evacuated.19 The scene was grisly, especially as patients from Phnom Penh's largest hospital appeared on the streets. As the French missionary Francois Ponchaud described the evacuation:
A few moments later a hallucinatory spectacle began. Thousands of the sick and wounded were abandoning the city. The strongest dragged pitifully along, others were carried by friends, and some were lying on beds pushed by their families with their plasma and IV bumping along. I shall never forget one cripple who had neither hands nor feet, writhing along the ground like a severed worm, or a weeping father carrying his ten-year-old daughter wrapped in a sheet tied around his neck like a sling, or the man with his foot dangling at the end of a leg to which it was attached by nothing but the skin.20

By March 1975, the United States started to make plans at home, with international agencies, and other governments, to evacuate Americans, their dependents, and at-risk Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Hmong from Indochina. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) also began work to find countries that would take refugees. On April 14 the U.S. attorney general authorized the admission of Vietnamese and Cambodian dependents of American citizens, and around this time President Gerald Ford created an Interagency Task Force with officials from various federal agencies to plan for the reception of refugees in the United States. In a rather arbitrary fashion, the State Department decided to admit 130,000 evacuees, with 125,000 slots reserved for Vietnamese and the rest for Cambodians. The Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of May 1975 furthermore established a program for the domestic settlement of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees.21 The 130,000 slots were filled by the "first wave" of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees, most of whom were educated, Westernized, urban, and had ties to the U.S. government or American officials. Air evacuations in Vietnam began on April 1 in Saigon and proceeded through April 29, the day before the North Vietnamese takeover.22 The process was chaotic, and many people who were not actually "at risk" were able to bribe their way onto the lifts, while others who should have been evacuated were left out. Tens of thousands of others, meanwhile, escaped by sea.23 Those selected for settlement in the United States were placed in four processing camps located at Fort Pendleton in California, Fort Chafee in Arkansas, Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania, and Eglin Airforce Base in Florida. There, refugees received medical examinations, learned English, and were socialized for their new lives. Federally assisted non-governmental agencies run by charities and religious organizations coordinated the resettlement and finding of sponsors (often private individuals), and the sponsors, in turn, took responsibility for helping the refugees secure jobs and living necessities. The Interagency Task Force set October 31, 1975 as a deadline for moving the refugees out of the system, and the resettlement centers were closed gradually over the year. The task force itself disbanded on December 31.
A smaller group of people from Laos also made up part of the first wave. The Pathet Lao purges, ending of food supplies from U.S. airdrops, and the disruption of subsistence agriculture heightened uncertainty for Laotians, especially those who had worked with the United States in the secret war. In mid-May 1975, word spread of an American airlift for military personnel and family out of Long Cheng, prompting the arrival of thousands of people who hoped to escape.24 About 2,500 were airlifted out, and over the course of the year, tens of thousands of others left by land routes.25 Those who were airlifted were taken to a military base in Thailand called Ban Namphong, which by the end of 1975 held 10,000 residents, the majority of whom were Hmong. Of these, a small number was paroled to enter the United States beginning in early 1976, and others were dispersed elsewhere in North America as well as in South America, Europe, and Oceania.26
After these early resettlement efforts, however, refuge seekers continued to leave Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, and in the second half of the 1970s, the United States was taking in an additional 1,800 refugees per month. The "second wave" was poorer, less educated, and less urbanized, and unlike their first wave counterparts had experienced life under Communist rule. It furthermore far eclipsed the first wave in numbers. These included "boat people" as well as overland refugees who had spent time in refugee camps in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.27
In Vietnam, conditions had worsened for many people after July 1976 when the country was reunified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Former elected officials, police, military officers, teachers, and religious leaders—anyone who would have politically opposed the Communist regime—were shipped to camps where they were indoctrinated and forced into hard labor. Anti-capitalist measures included the confiscation of businesses and the transport of merchants to remote "New Economic Zones" where they performed physical labor.28 Such policies took a particular toll on ethnic Chinese, and by 1978 about 160,000 had fled to China's southern provinces, leading the country to seek UNHCR aid.
Cambodians, meanwhile, reeled from the traumas of Khmer Rouge rule and the uncertainties of life after its ouster. In power from 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge was dominated by a hyper-Cambodian nationalist wing. It was also highly ethnocentric, removing and executing any non-ethnic Khmer from leadership positions. Seeking a return to a pre-modern agrarian age, its policies included uprooting urban populations to the countryside and destroying bedrocks of Cambodian culture like religion and family. Toward undoing the latter, young people were encouraged to spy on their parents.29 Some three million people in a country of about seven million perished while the Khmer Rouge was in power. An invasion by Vietnam precipitated its fall, after which scores of Cambodians fled across the Thai border, and in 1979 about six hundred thousand Cambodians, or 15 percent of the country's remaining population, were living in Thai refugee camps.
As the 1970s came to a close, the continued and growing exodus of refugees from Southeast Asian countries turned into a global crisis. Receiving particular attention was the plight of the "boat people" of Vietnam, who by Spring 1978 were fleeing the country at a rate of 1,500 per month. Countries of first arrival, such as Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, had become overburdened or unwilling to assist newcomers. In an attempt to manage and contain the problem, the UN held conferences in Geneva in 1979 and 1989. After the first meeting, Vietnam agreed to place a moratorium on illegal departures and help facilitate the legal departure of refugees through the Orderly Departure Program (ODP). Countries of first asylum agreed to stop turning people away and grant temporary asylum, while countries of second asylum increased their intake and contributed to UNHCR expenses.30 New processing centers were, moreover, built in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. For its part, the United States delineated three categories of people who could enter its borders under the ODP: close family members of Vietnamese and ethnic Chinese from Vietnam already in the United States; former employees of U.S. government agencies; and other individuals closely connected to U.S. activities in Vietnam before 1975.31 The second Geneva Conference came up with a Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA), which stipulated cutoff dates (1988 and 1989) for the ODP, after which arrivals from Laos and Vietnam would be subjected to refugee status determination or screening. About 500,000 Vietnamese entered the U.S. under the ODP between 1979 and 1989.32
These actions by the UN brought a modicum of order to the refugee crisis, but it did not capture its full scope. The conventions, for instance, did not address Cambodian refugees. Additionally, while people fleeing Cambodia during the years of Khmer Rouge rule from 1975 to 1979 were bona fide refugees, the status of those who left afterward was unclear.33 In limbo as "illegals" in countries of first asylum, about 360,000 Cambodians who were unable to gain entry into UNHCR holding centers were repatriated by the UN between 1982 and 1992. Those who were selected for resettlement in the United States were drawn from the holding center population and, thus, represented a very small portion of Cambodian refugees.
After the 1979 Geneva Conference, the United States, the largest country of second asylum, implemented sweeping changes in its own refugee policy, which had previously been ad hoc and reliant on the attorney general's parole power. For instance, in spring 1976 Congress authorized the attorney general to parole eleven thousand people to the United States under the Expanded Parole Program. Then in fall 1977 another fifteen thousand parolees entered under a new Indochinese Parole Program, which allowed for the admission of boat people scattered in Southeast Asia as well as refugees in Thai camps. The following January an additional seven thousand people were authorized to enter as parolees. In all of these cases, the highest priority was for individuals with family members already in the United States or who had worked for the U.S. government or American companies. In February 1979, President Jimmy Carter created a U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs post to facilitate cooperation among federal departments that dealt with refugees, and over the course of the year continued to raise the U.S. intake.34
On March 17, 1980, Congress passed the Refugee Act, the first law to explicitly deal with refugees apart from other immigration policies. Upon signing it, President Carter stated, "it is the historical policy of the United States to respond to the urgent needs of persons subject to persecution in their homelands."35 The law brought the U.S. definition of refugee in line with the UN's from 1951, which defined them as people with a "well-founded fear of persecution from their own governments due to their political ideologies or activities, religious affiliation, or membership in certain groups that the government in question has chosen to persecute."36 Although it removed earlier ideological and geographic biases and spelled out procedures for dealing with asylum seekers already on U.S. soil, foreign policy continued to dominate considerations of who was admitted. The law also removed the executive branch's parole authority to admit large groups of people, and placed responsibility for determining ceilings in the executive and Congress.
The State Department laid out six priorities for accepting refugees for resettlement, the top three being for persons in immediate danger of loss of life and for whom there is no alternative to resettlement in the United States; people who had worked for U.S. government agencies; and family members of people in the United States. The new system slowed the refugee flow in part because it narrowed the paths of entry. Prior to mid-1981 applicants did not have to prove that they had been or were likely targets of persecution but, following an INS ruling on the Refugee Act, officers were required to review claims on a case-by-case basis.37 The ruling came on the heels of a rising number of cases in which officials suspected that economic migrants were falsely claiming to be fleeing political persecution. This led to rising rejection rates, and the second wave of Southeast refugee migration would crest in 1981.

Conscience of it all:
The arrival of Southeast Asian refugees was unprecedented in Asian American and U.S. immigration histories. With regard to refugees in America, until 1948, with the passage of the Displaced Persons Act, the United States did not recognize refugees as a distinct legal category of persons. Before that, many groups of immigrants would have fit the modern definition of refugee, but the differentiation did not exist in the law. As immigration was more tightly regulated from the late nineteenth century, however, refugees faced greater difficulty gaining admission, particularly when it came to passing the proscription against likely public charges.
Things changed after World War II as U.S. officials increasingly championed America's need to help and receive refugees, their ability to assimilate, and bonds they represented to other nations. However, even after the passage of the Displaced Persons Act, refugee policy was piecemeal and shaped by diplomatic considerations. With the onset of the Cold War, the United States largely limited admission to people from Communist regimes and withheld protection from those fleeing dictatorships with which it was friendly. Policies implemented during the 1950s, moreover, required the vetting of applicants' economic backgrounds and their securing of employment. With regard to Asians, the largest group admitted before the 1970s came from the People's Republic of China. Between 1948 and 1966 about thirty-two thousand entered or gained permanent residency through refugee legislation and procedures, a large portion of these being students and skilled professionals.38
In the face of the intensifying Southeast Asian crisis in the late 1970s, Americans grappled with how they should respond. On the one hand, many wished to distance themselves from the Vietnam War, which had been deeply demoralizing, and were reluctant to open the gates to a new wave of Asian migrants, especially ones who were so desperate. In 1977, the New York Times reported that many members of Congress were expressing opposition to the admission of more refugees and, as the Economist explained, Americans disliked that "the Vietnam War should come back, in the persons of its victims, to haunt [them] on their own ground."39 On the other hand, because the refugees were fleeing Communist governments, others felt obligated to help them. Harrowing stories about the boat people being preyed upon by pirates, the poor conditions of refugee camps, and the legacy of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot further tugged at people's heartstrings and consciences.
Perhaps no groups captured the mainstream imagination as much as children and Amerasians from Vietnam. The "Operation Babylift" campaign, which airlifted about two thousand Vietnamese orphans an American? I'm one too.'"42 Such coverage helped launch the plight of Amerasians as a cause celebre and, eventually, about 4,500 Vietnamese Amerasians, known as bui doi or con lai, were admitted via the UNHCR's Orderly Departure Program as well as U.S. laws passed in 1982 and 1987.43
Highlighting the patriarchal and imperialistic dimensions of the discourse about Amerasians, Jana Lipman has shown how the settlement of this group not only elevated the United States as a benevolent global power, but also valorized American (usually white) fathers and minimized the role of Vietnamese mothers. In lobbying for their admission, legislators often pressed the importance of reuniting fathers with their long lost children and intimated that the mothers were giving up their children.44 This perception was inscribed into policy in the 1982 Amerasian Amendment, which excluded mothers and required them to revoke their custody rights if their Amerasian child applied to come to the United States, a policy that was not changed until 1988. This binary of the male, paternal, responsible, white American versus the female, sexualized, all-sacrificing Vietnamese was echoed in the popular musical, Miss Saigon (debuted in London in 1989 and on Broadway in 1991), whose plot involved a Vietnamese prostitute (Kim) who bore a child by a white American GI (Chris). Despite falling in love in Vietnam, the couple's future was doomed; for one, Chris had a white American wife at home. At the end of the story, Chris took on the responsibility of raising the child in America while Kim committed suicide, as an expression of her despair and sacrifice for her child. All told, Southeast Asia was the largest source of refugees to the United States stemming from foreign policy interests during the twentieth century. By March 1980, 350,000 Vietnamese (many ethnic Chinese), 35,000 Laotians, 30,000 Lao minorities, and 20,000 Cambodians gained admission, and by the end of the century the number of Southeast Asians who entered as refugees reached about one million.45 They tended to be young; nearly 46 percent of the first wave was under eighteen, and 35.6 percent was between eighteen and thirty-four.46 Most came as family units, often with extended members. As refugees (and in some cases asylees and parolees), they were eligible to adjust their status to become U.S. citizens or permanent residents after one year of continuous residence, and by 1992 close to 70 percent of Vietnamese, 66 percent of Cambodians, and 92 percent of Laotians had received their green cards.47 By the late 1980s and early 1990s the refugee flow to the United States had largely ended as refugee admission programs were terminated. After settling about 500,000 Vietnamese in the United States, the Orderly Departure Program ended in 1989, and other U.S. refugee programs for Vietnamese were ended in 1997. The Cambodian refugee resettlement program, which since 1975 had helped settle nearly 160,000 people, ended in 1994. The Laotian program also ended in 1994.48 The timing of the termination of these programs also reflected thawing relations between the United States and Southeast Asia as well as the onset of what one scholar has called "compassion fatigue" after three decades of welcoming refugees.49 Despite this, Southeast Asian migration continues, but through channels such as family reunification provisions in the general immigration system or humanitarian parolee status.50
The adjustment to life in America was a difficult one, as it could be for all newcomers, but the circumstances that brought Southeast Asian refugees to the United States suggested this was a particularly burdened and disadvantaged group. Many, especially in the second wave, were not only unfamiliar with American culture but also with modern life. Most Hmong refugees, for instance, were rural people and had never been exposed to city life until arriving in the United States. Because so many Southeast Asian refugees had experienced the horrors of war, starvation, and desperate flight, by the early 1980s, they had been identified as a case study for understanding the condition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cambodians who had lived under the Khmer Rouge were especially susceptible to mental disorders stemming from trauma, or what some Cambodians called "Khmer illness."51 At a clinic for Indochinese refugees in Portland, Oregon, a 1990 survey found that 70 percent of all patients suffered from PTSD.
Also distinctive about the adjustment of Southeast Asians was the highly orchestrated nature of their settlement by the federal government and voluntary agencies, which aimed to disperse them geographically to avoid large concentrations of new refugees. During the settlement of the first wave of Vietnamese out of the four U.S. camps, the government contracted voluntary agencies such as the United States Catholic Conference, the International Rescue Committee, and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to find sponsors. The sponsors could be any person, group, or organization willing to take responsibility for the refugees' housing, clothing, and other expenses until they became self-supporting. They were also to help them find employment, learn English, and train for jobs, for which they received grants of $500 per refugee.52 By December 1975, about 27,000 refugees, mostly Vietnamese, were in California, 9,100 in Texas, and 7,100 in Pennsylvania, with smaller numbers found in other states. The geographic settlement patterns were generally limited by the locations of the U.S. holding centers and voluntary agencies' contacts. The latter, for instance, explains why many refugees assisted by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service ended up scattered in the Midwest.53 Corporate sponsors also shaped where refugees were initially settled; a large number of Vietnamese, for instance, went to Florida, Texas, and Louisiana, where they were employed by chicken processing firms, nursing homes, and agricultural companies that needed workers.
Before long, a pattern of secondary migration took hold as many refugees left the places of their original settlement to be closer to friends, family, jobs, and assistance. In some cases, sponsors could no longer provide for them, and the refugees had no choice but to seek better fortunes elsewhere. The poor state of the labor market during a recession in the late 1970s compelled others to move, particularly those who had been settled in rural areas. This secondary migration led to even more heightened concentrations of Southeast Asians in certain locations, precisely what the government had hoped to avoid; by 1978, for example, a third of Vietnamese were in California and another 10 percent could be found in Texas. The arrival of the second wave refugees further contributed to the population clusters. By the 1980s, the leading centers of the Hmong population were St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota and Fresno, California.54 Among Cambodians, Long Beach, California, which emerged as a major enclave as early as the 1970s, became known as the "Cambodian Capital of America." Lowell, Massachusetts was another major center of this population. Finally, the largest Vietnamese concentrations emerged in Orange County and San Jose, California and Houston, Texas.
While the socioeconomic backgrounds of Southeast Asians were diverse, as refugees many experienced downward mobility in the United States, skewing the entire population in the lower sectors of the economy. Among Vietnamese, for instance, a large portion of the first wave was well educated, with about 38 percent having secondary school training and 20 percent university training.55 A significant percentage, furthermore, came from the technical, managerial, and military elite; over 7 percent had worked as doctors, nurses, or dentists and 24 percent as lawyers, technicians, managers, or university teachers. Despite this profile, few had language ability to transfer their skills to the American economy. In March 1976, nearly 65 percent of first wave Vietnamese spoke no English and only about 14 percent could communicate effectively in it.56 Moreover, professionals faced licensing and other bureaucratic obstacles that made it impossible to pursue their professions or maintain the status they held in their countries of origin.
These obstacles did not just take their toll personally, but also impacted the well-being of their communities. Cambodian G. Chan was fortunate in that he was able to continue working as a medical doctor in the United States.57 The struggle to maintain his profession, however, was bitter and sobering. After Chan was resettled in the Bronx he tried to obtain a residency to practice in America, with much bureaucratic hassling. This was particularly concerning because his services were very much needed. As he explained in 1991, "[There] are six thousand Cambodian refugees in the New York area and not one Cambodian medical doctor ... It is as if the U.S. officials opened the gates in this country and let you into the courtyard. But nobody will now open the front door."58 Sarout Suon Seng received her medical degree in Phnom Penh in 1982, and soon after escaped to Thailand before being settled in the United States. For her, becoming a practicing physician was out of the realm of possibilities. "I do not know how to get into medical school because of my English. I have to go through everything again. Probably take me ten years ... before I get my M.D."59 She wished to work in the medical profession, so earned a physician assistant degree from UC Davis. Though she held a lower status than doctors, she found the work fulfilling. As she said in 1989: "I see a lot of Cambodian patients ... You know, American hospitals are very frightening ... because they can't tell everything they want to tell or need to tell ... It's not only Cambodian[s]. Even Lao, Hmong or Vietnamese ... it is easier to reach them because I understand."60
In the larger picture, however, the experiences of these professionals are atypical, and second-wave Vietnamese, as well as refugees from Laos and Cambodia, were less skilled and educated than their first-wave counterparts and, as noted, those from elite backgrounds in their countries of origin found it difficult to retain this status in the United States. The majority of refugees from Laos, for instance, were not only illiterate, but had few skills beyond those acquired from slash and burn agriculture. In 1980, 75 percent of Lao ethnic minorities (Lowland Lao) in the United States lived below the poverty line. By 1989, this had improved somewhat, to about 63 percent, but they remained the most impoverished Asian American group. Cambodians were not far behind. In 1980, more than half of Cambodians in the United States were unemployed and over 60 percent lived in poverty.61 Of those gainfully employed, just over 2 percent worked in managerial or administrative positions and the largest segment, about 34 percent, worked as common laborers or machine operators. Nearly 78 percent would be characterized as blue collar.
The overall socioeconomic status of Southeast Asians in America has improved since 1980. As mentioned above, between 1980 and 1989, the percentage of Hmong living below the poverty line decreased, albeit modestly. Among Cambodians, a small elite middle class comprising about 5 percent of the population emerged, with professionals and business people, although the lower middle class and blue collar was much larger at about 40 percent.62 More than half of the population remained unemployed.
In recent decades, many Southeast Asians have become successful entrepreneurs, in areas serving co-ethnic and general clienteles. These have usually been former members of the elite who brought with them some business experience, and reflecting the merchant populations of Southeast Asia, a large percentage is ethnic Chinese. For instance, Sino-Cambodians run about two-thirds of Cambodian businesses in the United States, even though this group is far outnumbered by Khmer and other ethnic groups. Some of the niches that now transcend co-ethnic clienteles include Vietnamese nail salons and Cambodian doughnut shops. With regard to the latter, by the end of the twentieth century, Cambodians owned or operated 80 percent of doughnut shops in California.63
The path toward establishing a niche in the doughnut industry in California was broken by Ted Ngoy, a Sino-Cambodian who arrived in the United States in 1975. Along with seven family members, Ngoy was sponsored by a Lutheran church in Tustin, California. He worked as a janitor at the church as well as at a gas station. During this time, he tasted a doughnut for the first time and decided to learn how to make them, becoming a trainee at a Winchell's in Newport Beach. In 1977 he had saved enough to buy a doughnut shop in La Habra, California, and by the mid-1980s owned more than fifty doughnut shops throughout the state and expanded his empire into taco and hamburger shops. This success launched Ngoy as the first Cambodian American millionaire.64 As other Cambodians followed Ngoy into the doughnut business, it developed into an ethnic niche in California. They not only opened shops, but also became involved in other levels of the industry. Bun H. Tao, Ngoy's nephew, established B&H Distributors, which provides credit and coffee-making machines to shop owners and would-be shop owners. Additionally, although men dominate the upper echelons of the industry, women's participation has been critical, as they often run the doughnut shops.65
Another important area of the economy in which Southeast Asians have been crucial, as both laborers and entrepreneurs, is the seafood industry around the Gulf of Mexico.66 After voluntary agency staff learned about the fishing backgrounds of many refugees, especially Cambodians and Vietnamese, they worked to match them with Gulf Coast seafood companies that agreed to be their sponsors. Located in states like Florida, Texas, and Louisiana, some of the companies organized programs to train the refugees in American fishing methods and then employed them in a range of tasks from fishing to dockside processing and packing.67 In Bayou Le Batre, Louisiana in the 1990s, 70 percent of the workers in the crab industry were Southeast Asian and 62 percent were women.68 Vietnamese women workers were especially visible in oyster shucking and crab picking in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. In describing their preference in hiring these workers, employers' remarks echoed sentiments heard earlier regarding Asian laborers. As one stated, "Asians are the best workers, they listen to you and they do what you tell them. After Asians I'd rather hire blacks; they aren't necessarily good workers, but they'll do what you tell them. Whites on the other hand don't want to work all that hard and won't do what you tell them to do."69
Working in the seafood industry via company sponsors was a springboard for a number of Southeast Asians to enter more independent forms of employment. Most Vietnamese eventually left their original employers to fish on their own or do business with smaller firms in arrangements more beneficial to them.70 They were able to take these steps toward greater autonomy and play a more extensive role in fishing in the area by purchasing and rigging second hand boats or entering partnerships with fellow fishermen to acquire larger boats. In West Florida as early as 1980, Vietnamese fishermen controlled sixty vessels. This often meant taking on considerable financial risk through bank loans, but as one Vietnamese fisherman stated about his $50,000 loan, "What do I have to lose? ... Even if I lose everything I started with nothing three years ago and will still be much better off than those people who couldn't get out of Vietnam."71 Resourceful as they were, their refugee immigration status limited the scope of their fishing activities, as they were not allowed to go beyond a three-mile territorial limit. Because of this, they tended to limit their activities near urban areas.
With the growth of Southeast Asian participation in the seafood industry, Gulf Coast states became common areas of secondary settlement, particularly for Vietnamese and Cambodians. As these communities were far away from the historical centers of Asian America, many of the longtime white and black locals had never before directly interacted with Asian people. As a result, the arrival of Southeast Asians did not occur without skirmishes and misunderstandings, as illustrated in several high profile incidents involving white and Vietnamese fishermen in the Gulf Coast.
Historically, new immigrants in the region who entered the area's fishing industry encountered some resistance from old-timers, but the late 1970s were a particularly tense time due to the economic recession. This, in addition to racial intolerance and cultural misunderstandings, exacerbated conflicts between white and Vietnamese fishers. Sometimes the clashes stemmed from Vietnamese fishermens' unfamiliarity with the norms and rules of Gulf Coast fishing. In Vietnam, fishing was relatively unregulated and governed by different rules of etiquette. Furthermore, the jerry-rigged recreational craft and old fishing boats that they operated in the Gulf Coast often lacked required safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, life preservers, and running lights. Thus, they learned the rules of fishing in the United States by inadvertently breaking them and being accused of "poor seamanship" by locals. Common complaints about Vietnamese fishermen included their cutting in line for fuel and unloading catch, consuming seagulls and pelicans in violation of federal law, and catching undersize shrimp.72
The misunderstandings among fishermen could become combative and even violent. Not only did locals make complaints such as those described above, but some also spread pernicious—and historically familiar—rumors that Vietnamese were spreading cholera through their fish and eating dogs and cats. In retaliation for what they deemed poor seamanship, Americans targeted Vietnamese fishers, crabbers, and shrimpers by cutting or stealing their gill nets, removing their floats, sideswiping their boats, and refusing to sell them fuel and ice. Some Vietnamese even received death threats or had their boats burned.73 The harassment also rose to the level of legal discrimination. In Santa Rosa and Escambia counties in Florida, complaints that Vietnamese used longer nets and were, thus, "raping the waters," resulted in prohibitions on nets longer than 2,000 feet. The state legislature eventually passed a law proscribing the use of these long nets and the governor defended it, claiming it was not discriminatory.74
In one incident in 1979, two Vietnamese crabbers were accused of murdering a white American man in a dispute in Seadrift, Texas. Within hours of the man's death, three Vietnamese boats were burned, one of their dwellings was firebombed, and an attempt was made to bomb a local crab-packing house that employed Vietnamese. Two-thirds of the refugees living in the community fled to another town.75 The accused were eventually acquitted. Having drawn national attention, the incident inspired the 1985 film Alamo Bay, whose plot centered on a demoralized American veteran of the Vietnam War who lashes out against Vietnamese arrivals in his small fishing town in Texas.

Ethnic Identity and Solidarity
Along with the challenges described above, Southeast Asians in America have struggled to maintain their traditions and ethnic solidarities while adopting new practices and identities. In locations where sizeable and visible populations have taken root, vibrant communities have flourished and drawn co-ethnics from far and wide. In the Hmong American community in Minnesota, for example, New Year's celebrations, which grew from a small affair to an elaborate event that includes beauty pageants and attracts Hmong from across the country, have become a crucial site for the maintenance of traditions and solidifying of ethnic identity.
In some cases, preserving tradition has gone beyond creating a sense of belonging or continuity in a new land. For Cambodians, cultural maintenance or revival has taken on a particularly urgent meaning after so many people were wiped out under the Khmer Rouge. This has informed the practice of Buddhism and the arts in Cambodian communities, as the Khmer Rouge tried to uproot Buddhism and an estimated 90 percent of classical dancers and musicians were killed. The Khmer Classical Dance Troupe was made up of individuals who had been part of the prestigious Cambodian Royal Ballet and escaped to the Khao I Dang holding center in Thailand. Eventually the dancers were settled in Wheaton, Maryland, and in 1981 the troupe gave its first public performance at the National Folk Festival outside of Washington, DC.76
For many Cambodians, Theravada Buddhism is fundamental to the homeland culture and identity, and one of the first things refugees did after being settled was to set up temples. Further, many Cambodians who adopted Christianity because of their relationship with sponsors continued to practice Buddhism and did not see the two as mutually exclusive.77 While maintaining Buddhist identity has been an important way to preserve a sense of Cambodian-ness, the practices themselves have changed. For instance, in America, monks have been unable to continue their custom from Southeast Asia of going door to door for their meals, and instead often have to prepare their meals themselves. Additionally, many have adapted their apparel to better fit some of the cold areas in which they live, for instance, abandoning traditional wardrobes and open-toed sandals for more winter-appropriate gear. Another major change among monks has been their taking up driving and handling money, even though they are traditionally not supposed to do these things.78
Participating in homeland politics has likewise reinforced ethnic cohesion while additionally sustaining a transnational orientation among Southeast Asians in America. Vang Pao, the former commander of the Royal Lao Army and Cold War ally of the United States practiced what Chia Youyee Vang calls "long distance nationalism," along with other Hmong ex-military leaders, when they formed the United Lao National Liberation Front in 1981. The group's purposes were to support resistance fighters against the Lao People's Democratic Republic, which it believed was controlled by Vietnam and, thus, an illegitimate government, and to advocate for the normalization of U.S.-Laos relations.79 Cambodian Americans have also taken part in long distance nationalism through activities that allow them to play a role in the reconstruction of their country of origin. The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia's (UNTAC) preparations for elections in 1993 represented an opportunity for Cambodians abroad to get involved, as they were eligible to vote, albeit under many restrictions (e.g., in the United States the only polling place was in New York, and yet voters would have to register in Cambodia). Some even launched their own political parties, and eight of the twenty-one parties that vied for votes in the election had been formed by Cambodian Americans, among them Ted Ngoy, who led the Free Development Republican Party. Two Cambodian Americans—Por Bun Sroeu and Ahmad Yhya—actually won seats in the National Assembly.80
The establishment of the new government in Cambodia gave rise to further opportunities for Cambodian Americans to reconnect or create new connections with their country of origin. Professionals who had worked in mutual aid associations returned to Cambodia to serve as consultants or take up executive or staff positions in the new government. Formed in 1988 in Chicago, and later based in Texas and Washington, D.C., the Cambodian Network Council (CNC) coordinated—with aid from the Office of Refugee Resettlement—mutual aid associations in the United States and also encouraged young people to go to Cambodia to aid in the country's reconstruction through the Cambodian-American National Development Organization (CANDO). CANDO had been founded in 1993 by Thida Khus and was modeled after the Peace Corps. Between 1993 and 1997, the year it disbanded, it sent eighty-seven volunteers from the United States, a handful of them white Americans, to work with NGOs and units of the Cambodian government as well as teach English.
As with the example of Buddhism, Southeast Asians' efforts to maintain tradition have had to accommodate some degree of change. This has been especially evident in family life with regard to gender and intergenerational relations. Among Cambodians, for instance, women's domesticity is greatly valued and the virginity of daughters is highly prized. According to Sucheng Chan, it is not uncommon for them to be physically punished by parents if they are caught with boys or have boyfriends. In the economy and socio-cultural milieu of 1970s and 1980s America, family dynamics with regard to gender relations underwent substantial change in Cambodian and other Southeast Asian communities. The difficulties that men faced in the economy meant that women often had to enter the labor force, bringing much change into household dynamics. As Chan has found, while some men reported that the growing role of women as economic contributors undermined their self-esteem, others said that they welcomed it. This heightened importance of women in and outside the home has also led to their greater assertiveness in finding and drawing on resources. For instance, wives in unhappy or abusive marriages have been able to turn to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC) for monetary support as well as pursue the option of divorce, and the divorce rate among Cambodian couples has risen after their arrival in the United States. Such changes should not, however, be taken to suggest that greater equality is the result of Americanization, as there are feminists in Cambodia and women are influential there too.81
The arena of parent-child relations underwent considerable strain due to the power that children have been able to draw from their higher degree of assimilation and social resources outside the household. Some Cambodian children, for instance, have admitted to lying to parents in order to do what they want in their social lives. As one young woman explained, "[Parents] don't trust us because we lie to them. We tell them we have to go to a meeting but instead we go to meet boys. If you lie too much they don't want to believe you anymore."82 Research on Cambodians in 1991 showed a drop in the marriage age among young women from 21 to 16, which has been interpreted as an expression of their desire for freedom from parental constraints. Children have also been able to exercise greater power over parents due to their superior knowledge of English and American culture. It is common, for instance, for them to help pay bills, translate documents, answer the phone, and the like. Sometimes children would use this power to outwit their parents. As Cambodian American Sambath Rim related:
The kids are smarter than the parents. Let me tell you a story. One of the kids told me he never went to school. The school sent a letter to the parents saying, "What happened to this kid? Why isn't he coming to school? Why is he absent?" The parents told the kid, "You know, I got a letter from I don't know where; can you translate it?" The kid says, "Oh, it's a letter from school saying that I'm a very, very good kid doing a really good job in school." ... the parents are very excited, until the police calls ... "This kid is locked up; he was shot." ... So you have to be smarter than the kids in order to control them. Otherwise, they just do whatever they want.83

While the local and national media have been attentive to the adjustment problems of refugees and their children, reporting on issues such as mental health, gangs, and poverty, Southeast Asians have also engaged in numerous efforts, such as those described above, to forge strong and productive ethnic communities, take part in homeland politics, and stake their own claims to American society and identity. Younger generations have recently focused their activities on domestic matters such as combating racism. In Minnesota in 1998, a group called Community Action against Racism was formed in the aftermath of insensitive comments made by a St. Paul radio host against Hmong people.84 The host ridiculed Hmong families, clans, and their diet of boiled chicken after childbirth, and furthermore demonized them as a people who practice infanticide after an incident in which a Hmong girl gave birth to a baby in a YMCA bathroom. Hmong Americans also mobilized in the wake of a racial backlash following the 2004 killing of six white hunters in northern Wisconsin by a Hmong American named Chai Soua Vang, who was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole. There were conflicting accounts of what occurred that day and whether or not Vang had intended to kill the hunters. The racial backlash against Hmong appeared locally, for instance, on bumper stickers reading "Save a Deer. Shoot a Mung." Additionally, the killing of a Hmong hunter named Cha Vang by white hunter James Nichols in 2007 was regarded by many as retaliation.85 Concerns about racism and negative stereotypes also led to protests against movies like Rambo (2008) and efforts to raise awareness about the casualties suffered by Southeast Asians in the Vietnam War.
The rapid and striking growth of the Southeast Asian population has also had important ramifications for Asian America at large, expanding notions of who is Asian American and in some quarters heightening awareness about the poverty and other struggles that many refugees have faced. For example, in Philadelphia, whose Asian American population grew dramatically in the 1980s due to the secondary resettlement of Southeast Asians, Asian American activists of Chinese and Japanese descent altered their approaches to community outreach and activism in response to the newly visible refugee population. Following the arrests of several Southeast Asian youths for the 1991 murder of a white teenager, a vicious racial backlash against the defendants and Asian people in general resulted, in turn motivating members of the organization Asian Americans United (AAU) to organize on behalf of the defendants and other Southeast Asians in Philadelphia. In particular, AAU worked to bring attention to the structural disadvantages faced by many poor, urban refugees while building panethnic bridges with these relatively new Asian Americans.86

Conclusion
For many Southeast Asians, constructing a new identity in America had involved incorporating the legacy of war and being a refugee into their personal and collective narratives. Some turned to artistic expression to work through this process. Tou Ger Xiong, a Hmong American, was born in 1973 and left a Thai refugee camp in 1979 to settle in Minnesota. He became a rapper and used this medium to tell his story. "My family was moving from place to place/Running from the guns at a very fast pace./My people was dying, there and there./Dead women, children, everywhere./When I think about these tragedies/I thank God for my life and family."87
The presence and struggles of Southeast Asians in America have discredited the model minority stereotype of Asian Americans and called on long-time Asian Americans and their organizations to be more mindful of issues like war, poverty, and psychological well-being. On the other hand, the refugee newcomers have found they have much in common with other Asian Americans, often stemming from their experiences with racism in the United States. As one Hmong American reflected about learning to adjust to the racial customs of his adopted home, being called epithets such as "gook" and "chink," "I wondered what was wrong with me—I didn't like being Hmong for a long time."88 They have also faced similar kinds of complaints that other Asians historically faced. Vietnamese Andy Anh of the Economic and Development Council in Los Angeles said, "If we are successful in jobs ... other minorities complain that we take the jobs away from them. But if we aren't successful, they say we rely too much on government assistance."89
The shared experience of American racism has become a common basis of identity that has led some Southeast Asians to organize with other Asian Americans and even explicitly identify as "Asian American." And for many Asian Americans with longtime roots in the United States, the war that triggered the arrival of Southeast Asian refugees, with its highly racialized dimensions, reverberated powerfully. The use of the epithet "gook" to describe the North Vietnamese or Viet Cong enemy was extremely disconcerting, and the employment of brutal tactics (use of napalm and killing of civilians) exposed the disregard and dehumanization of Vietnamese people by U.S. authorities. The casualty rate was also staggering, with latest estimates at about four million Vietnamese civilians and about one million military personnel dead compared to the U.S. death toll of about fifty-eight thousand. Asian Americans, particularly those turning to radical politics, felt both a racial and ideological affinity with the supposed enemy, as they identified with Vietnamese as fellow Asians, supported the goals of Ho Chi Minh's Communist party, and saw the U.S. as an outside Western power seeking to impose its will on the Third World. "Asian Americans," says Daryl Maeda, "were uniquely positioned by the war in Viet Nam, for unlike every other racial group, they were conflated with the enemy because they bore faces that looked like those of the enemy."90 As one Japanese American veteran remembered, "I saw how Whites were treating the Vietnamese, calling them Gooks, running them over with their trucks. I figured I am a Gook also."91
The next chapter, which examines Asian American political activism during the 1960s and 1970s, further explores—in the context of the "Asian American Movement"—how the Vietnam War critically informed the outlooks and criticisms of U.S. policies and domestic racism among young Asian American activists during this period. Placing anti-war protest within a larger spectrum of activist work in these tumultuous decades in American history, it will consider how Asian Americans participated in some of the historic movements of the 1960s and 1970s and helped create lasting social and political change.
protest that demonstrated asian housing inequality (in this case the philipinos). international hotel is bought out by a company and wanted to be turned into a parking lot. the police eventually kicked out and evicted all the tenants.

As mentioned earlier, Asian American movement organizations emerged to address problems facing the urban poor and working class, such as juvenile delinquency, unemployment, and the encroachment of urban renewal projects on Asian immigrant neighborhoods. With regard to the latter, activists organized to maintain community integrity and preserve historic sites in places such as the International District in Seattle, Philadelphia Chinatown, and Los Angeles Little Tokyo. Another pressing matter that emerged by the late 1960s was that of renters' rights and affordable housing. These were formative issues for Corky Lee while growing up in New York. Lee was the son of a laundryman and had worked as a welder during World War II and was inspired by witnessing the Civil Rights movement. By 1970 he was organizing within the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council which, among other things, worked to open apartment buildings that had been taken over by the New York Telephone Company.57
In San Francisco, around the same time as the TWLF strike, activists were also mobilizing against the forces of urban renewal, which threatened many of the city's long-time Filipino and Chinese residents. Here, the fight to save the International Hotel ("I-Hotel") was another critical flashpoint in the history of Asian American political activism during the 1960s and 1970s. After a period of deindustrialization and urban decline, in the late 1950s San Francisco entered a phase of renewal, which has also been called the "Manhattanization" of the city. Led by the city government, planning commissions, and corporate investors, urban renewal saw the upward expansion of San Francisco, with new high-rise office buildings, and outward development in adjacent areas. By the 1960 Manilatown was one of the historical neighborhoods standing in the way, until only the I-Hotel remained. Vulnerable because it sat at the heart of the new financial district, the I-Hotel and the struggle of its tenants became a rallying issue for Asian American activists. In addition to being a site for protest and engagement, it also exposed the activists to the politics of housing rights and neighborhood, working-class, and urban policies, increasingly pressing issues in post-war, post-industrial America.
The conflict over the I-Hotel began in 1968 when its owner, Milton Meyer Company, applied to demolish the building so that a parking lot could take its place. The company proceeded to send eviction notices to tenants, most of whom were middle-aged to elderly men. After the eviction notices were issued, a third of the residents left immediately, but the action also mobilized protestors from the community and nearby universities who organized demonstrations against Milton Meyer Company. San Francisco mayor Joseph Alioto, who embraced a pro-growth program for the city, especially around making it a hub for Pacific Rim finance, expressed little sympathy for the tenants. As he and city developers saw it, parking lots and towers would be more profitable than low-rent hotels. At the same time, however, Alioto wished to avoid negative publicity, so met with tenants' representatives and reached a series of agreements to keep the remaining tenants in the hotel. In 1969, a three-year lease was negotiated, but by this time, just 65 out of 184 rooms were occupied.

While keeping Asian tenants in their homes was the imperative that drew activists to the I-Hotel, as the number of residents dwindled, the cause took on a symbolic importance and also became part of a larger struggle to stem the march of urban development. Regarding the major groups that became involved, Filipino American individuals and organizations emerged early on as vocal representatives and supporters of the tenants. According to Beverly Kordziel, Filipino Americans who had not wanted to be involved in the Third World Strike did, nonetheless, wish to be involved with the I-Hotel because many of the residents were Filipino. Filipino American organizations that lent their support included the United Filipino Association, a Manilatown community organization led by local residents, business leaders, longtime activists, and union members, and the Katipunan ng mga Demokratikong Pilipino, or KDP, a radical organization of primarily young activists.58 The movement, thus, fostered intergenerational bonds between old timers and college-age activists, among Filipinos as well as other Asian Americans.
The I-Hotel itself, while a symbol of resistance, also became a venue for organizing, as various offices and projects associated with the Asian American left set up shop in its storefronts. These included a community arts center; the Leways; the Filipino American newspaper Kalayaan; a radical bookstore; the Asian Community Center (ACC); Chinese Progressive Association (CPA); and the International Hotel Tenants Associations. The latter was made up of tenants and some students and its goal was to keep the hotel afloat while pursuing the issue of low cost housing for elderly Filipinos and Chinese.59
Although Asian Americans were the heart of the anti-eviction movement at the I-Hotel, the struggle, which went on for a decade, eventually drew support from a broad range of constituencies in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. Labor unions, civil rights groups, religious leaders, the antiwar movement, students from nearby San Francisco State, and the gay community all expressed solidarity with the tenants, and the demonstrations outside the hotel grew to thousands of people. The movement withstood the I-Hotel's change of ownership when the Four Seas Investment Company, a Thailand-based corporation, purchased it from Milton Meyer and picked up the effort to evict the tenants.
The eviction finally occurred on August 3-4, 1977. While this was considered a major setback to anti-corporate activists and those working to preserve the working-class character of the city, the long duration of the strike and the solidarity it forged among Asian Americans and across racial and other boundaries was inspiring and deeply impactful for the activists involved. After the remaining tenants were evicted and the building demolished, a hole remained in the ground where the hotel was located, which remained for decades. Development was delayed as Filipino and Chinese American activists put pressure on the city to ensure that anything built at the site would include a significant low-income housing component. Finally in 2005, a victory of sorts was achieved when a new hotel was completed, with units for low-income residents and a Manilatown Center located on the ground floor.
The long and hard fought battle to save the I-Hotel stands out as a seminal struggle of the Asian American movement. As mentioned above, it became about much more than the hotel itself. Activists like Harvey Dong expanded their activism beyond the hotel by organizing tenants in other buildings, holding rent strikes and demanding repairs, and building broader political awareness in the Chinatown-Manilatown community.60 The I-Hotel episode, furthermore, raised a larger awareness among those involved as well as many outside observers about community conditions and the plight of elderly, poor Asian Americans.

While the struggles for ethnic studies at SF State and the I-Hotel are associated with, and to a significant degree did, emanate from the Asian American radical left, the scope of Asian American political activism in the 1960s and 1970s is much broader than these examples suggest. To discuss one final example, the movement for Japanese American redress certainly reflected a heightened politicized consciousness among this historically moderate community, but grew out of a tradition of legal activism that stretched back to the early twentieth century.
In 1996, allegations that President Bill Clinton's reelection campaign was soliciting donations from Chinese contributors in exchange for favors evoked China as a shadowy, malevolent force threatening the integrity of U.S. politics, illustrated in a National Review cover that labeled the Clintons and Vice President Al Gore as "The Manchurian Candidates."17 Concerns had also circulated that China was building up a missile arsenal based on information leaked from the United States.
In 1999, this growing anxiousness about China had bubbled over into racial suspicion toward Americans of Chinese ancestry and led to the arrest and persecution of Wen-Ho Lee. In what became known as the "Los Alamos Incident," Lee, a sixty-year-old scientist employed at the lab, was accused of spying for China and immediately fired from his job and placed in solitary confinement pending a trial. Lee, a naturalized citizen who had been in the United States since 1965 and worked at the lab since 1978, pleaded guilty to one count of mishandling data (of the fifty-nine he was indicted for), although other scientists at the lab had engaged in similar illegal downloading. Nonetheless, a media frenzy ensued, intensifying the vilification of Lee, and for both the attorney general and court of public opinion, his Chinese ancestry and any connections or past travel to China—even though Lee himself was from Taiwan—sufficiently established his guilt.
Throughout his nine months of solitary confinement, Lee maintained his innocence and, as the government prepared its case, several key players who had accused him of lying recanted. From there the case unraveled. Even despite Lee's admission of mishandling information, there was no evidence that anything from Los Alamos made its way into Chinese hands. Lee was released, received an apology, and was paid $1.6 million. However, by then, the damage had been done. Lee paid dearly, but the debacle also had a chilling effect on other Chinese American scientists, who made up about 8 percent of the U.S. workforce in science and technology. As Cheuk-Yin Wong, the chairman of the Overseas Chinese Physics Association said, recalling the general suspicion cast on Japanese Americans in the wake of Pearl Harbor, "Without taking time to check the evidence, certain members of the media stated uncritically that the hundred thousand Chinese scientists working in this country provided ready targets for PRC intelligence gathering."18

These and other troubling developments, which served as reminders for some and wake up calls for others about Asian Americans' vulnerability and the persistence of racism led to a new wave of political activism. For many Asian Americans, this was the first time they had become potentially engaged, as they had come of age during the age of the model minority and believed that America had embraced a "postethnic" and "postracial" era. An event like the Chin killing and trial were particularly powerful because it demonstrated not just the vulnerability of all Asians, regardless of their specific ethnic background, but also how devalued their lives were in the legal system. "I think that the Vincent Chin case ... was a watershed moment for all Asian Americans," said Helen Zia. "For the first time, we considered ourselves as a race, a minority race in America that faced discrimination and had to fight for our civil rights."19
Out of this episode came efforts aimed at toughening hate crimes laws while forging unity among Asian Americans. Existing Asian American civil rights organizations as well as new ones—such as the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, American Citizens for Justice, and Asian American Justice Center—worked to combat and bring attention to issues of anti-Asian violence and discrimination. Collecting data on hate crimes against Asian Americans, they found, for instance, that there had been a 13 percent increase in reported anti-Asian incidents between 1998 and 1999. South Asians, furthermore, had been the most widely targeted group, and vandalism was the most common form of anti-Asian discrimination. In 1994, the civil rights organizing of Asian Americans helped bring about the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which increased penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person.
The politicization of Asian Americans around the issue of affirmative action and discrimination in school admissions was more complicated, as illustrated by the controversy over capping Asian admissions at Lowell High School, mentioned above. Specifically, the debate grew out of the district's implementation of the desegregation consent decree in 1983, in which each school was required to enroll at least four out of nine specified ethnic/racial groups and no single group could constitute 40 or 45 percent of the total enrollment.20 At Lowell, which already had a very selective admissions process due to its reputation, Chinese applicants faced a higher bar so that their enrollment would not exceed 40 percent of the student body. In response to this practice, a group of Chinese Americans sued the school district. For the plaintiffs, this was a thorny situation because success in their lawsuit might mean dismantling racial preferences in admissions, which would most certainly hurt underrepresented minorities served by affirmative action. Chinese Americans were divided on the matter. State and local leaders including Henry Der and Leland Lee said the racial caps that limited Chinese American admission at Lowell were necessary to achieve desegregation, but on the other hand, the Chinese American Democratic Club argued that it was unfair that their
The revival of Asian immigration to the United States did not just increase the size and diversity of Asian America; it also transformed the national landscape of American race relations. Asian Americans have achieved unprecedented levels of cultural visibility, socioeconomic mobility, and political power since the 1960s. As discussed in Chapter 9, Asian Americans began making notable strides in elected office from the local to national levels during the 1950s and early 1960s, and this continued into the 1970s and 1980s. In particular, on the mainland, where Asian Americans were not as numerous as they were in Hawaii, and, thus, could only form powerful voting blocs in select locations, achievements in electoral politics surfaced later. In 1974, Japanese American Norman Mineta won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and four years later he would be joined by fellow Californian and Japanese American Robert Matsui. Also in 1974, Chinese American March Fong Yu was elected secretary of the state of California. Although the number of elected Asian American officials remains very low overall, their presence has made a difference at crucial junctures on key issues, for instance with regard to the Japanese redress campaign.
Achievements aside, the educational and professional achievements of many post-1965 immigrants and their children tended to reinforce and magnify the model minority stereotype and gloss over Asian America's diversity. As Sucheng Chan has shown, various data, both anecdotal and statistical, were used to shore up the stereotype of the high-achieving, high income-earning Asian. For instance, according to the U.S. Census of 1970, Japanese and Chinese Americans outpaced whites in median family income.64 Additionally, other research showed that in 1970 Chinese and Japanese American men had significantly more schooling than non-Hispanic whites. There are many problems with the use of such data to generalize about Asian American achievement. For one, the income information from the Census did not account for families in which more than one person worked. Further, "Hispanic" groups were lumped with whites, which likely brought down their income figure. Other studies, moreover, revealed that higher educational attainment had not directly resulted in higher median incomes for Asian Americans, and other data suggested that "returns to education" enjoyed by Asians were lower than for whites.65 Also relevant was that most Asian Americans lived in metropolitan areas, where incomes tend to be higher. Asian Americans' relatively low unemployment rate disguised the common problem of underemployment. Further, while professional attainment is certainly notable, Asian American professionals tended to cluster in certain occupations (accounting, dentistry, nursing, health, engineering) while being underrepresented in fields such as law, teaching, administration, and social services.
Finally, there were wide differences across groups that lumping Asian ethnicities concealed. While Chinese and Japanese exhibited high levels of education and income, a 1970s study of the San Francisco Bay Area showed that Filipinos lagged significantly behind these two groups as well as whites in income and employment status. As shown in Chapter 10, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian refugees—40 percent of whom in California were reliant on public assistance—also belied the model minority stereotype.66 Taking such data into consideration, no unified picture emerges of Asian Americans' socioeconomic status, despite the certitude suggested by the model minority stereotype.
Also worth pointing out, as this often gets obscured in discussions about Asian American success and achievement, is that the privileged socioeconomic status and professional backgrounds that many immigrants possess is in significant measure the product of structural factors established by the Hart-Celler Act. In his critique of the model minority thesis with regard to South Asians, Vijay Prashad says that this group's success was "the result of state selection whereby the U.S. state, through the special-skills provisions in the 1965 Immigration Act, fundamentally reconfigured the demography of South Asian America."67 This gave rise to another criticism of the law, that it promoted a professional "brain drain" from the developing world. As a writer for the Commonweal satirized about the issue in 1965, the Statue of Liberty should have read, "Give me your poor Ph.D.'s, your huddled graduate engineers."68
Another reality behind recent myths about Asian Americans that called for reexamination was the simmering, sometimes explosive, resentment that accompanied the arrival and visibility of upwardly mobile and successful immigrants. At times, they were blamed for problems associated with rapid commercial and residential growth, such as environmental concerns, poor public planning, and high costs of living. In the Monterey Park example, the seemingly sudden appearance of wealthy immigrants, Asian capital, and ubiquitous foreign-language signs struck many residents as a vulgar and unwelcome intrusion. What had in the not-too-distant past been a predominantly white, Christian community that revolved around the Methodist Church and service clubs had changed too abruptly. By the late 1970s, land speculation and construction in the community had inflated property values and increased rents, generating anti-growth sentiments among locals. In 1978 the city planning commission recommended a moratorium on the construction on multiple dwelling units, which typified a controversy about how the community was changing. Frederic Hsieh argued the recommendation was discriminatory toward Chinese immigrants.69 Local resentment also turned on commercial development in reaction to the seemingly sudden appearance of Chinese restaurants, realtors, supermarkets, herb shops, bakeries, and mini malls. By the 1990s, Chinese were estimated to own between two-thirds and three-quarters of all business enterprises in Monterey Park.70 Evidence of racial tension was everywhere: in 1985 3,000 Monterey Park residents signed a petition trying to get an Official English initiative on the municipal ballot, and cars displayed bumper stickers saying "Will the Last American to Leave Monterey Park Please Bring the Flag?"71 In April 1986 the only non-whites on the city council, two Latinos and a Chinese, were defeated in a bid for reelection.
Another problem of the model minority stereotype, bolstered by the post-1965 immigrants, was that it tended to minimize racism directed at people of Asian descent. To be sure, the discrimination and nativism directed at Asians in more recent decades has been subtler than what they experienced in earlier decades. But nonetheless, as Vijay Prashad has argued, Asian professionals were praised and desired for their labor contributions, but were not wanted as permanent members of American society, signaling that less had changed than might have appeared. Reflecting this outlook was a marked shift during the 1990s toward non-immigrant visas (such as H-1B) in order to bring more people with needed skills. Under the H-1B visa, a worker can come to the United States for three years, but after this period must return home. Recent attempts by legislators such as Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas to limit new immigration only to those with skills and professional backgrounds while closing off certain family categories further illustrate this limited tolerance for Asians in America.72 Prashad has, thus, characterized the legions of technology workers from China, India, Russia, and elsewhere, employed by firms such as Hewlett-Packard, as "high tech incarnations of the braceros of old."73 In addition to large technology firms, supermarkets, department stores, and utility firms looked increasingly to foreign software programmers and other professionals as a way to hold down their costs.
Perhaps reflecting the disappointments faced by many post-1965 Asian immigrants as well as the diminishing luster of the "American Dream" in the late twentieth century, the rate of return migration among some groups increased while sentiments in favor of emigration declined. According to Binod Khadria, a significant return migration by IT professionals to India has emerged in recent decades. The good pay that jobs in India are able to offer and the country's developed technology sector—Bangalore for instance has been called the "Silicon Valley of India"—were incentives, but some also reported negative experiences in America such as isolation and "racial diatribes."74 Another important factor was the development of Indian education, environmental issues, and social services. Since the 1980s for many Korean immigrants and would-be emigrants, South Korea's economic prosperity and growing freedoms cast doubt on the once certain notion that life was better in the United States, contributing to growing anti-emigration sentiments. As one immigrant said, "While Korea is old, but getting young, the United States is young, but getting old."75 The rise of a new privileged class in Seoul was striking to Korean Americans who struggled just to maintain a foothold in the middle class. As another immigrant remarked, "We used to go to Korea and hold our heads high, people were jealous. Now we go and they tease us."

Conclusion
The demographic transformation of Asian America since 1965 occurred against momentous changes in America and the world. Economic, social, and ideological developments had brought forth a new world of possibilities and problems. Working out what it means to be Asian American and who is Asian American became both murkier and more urgent. Taking the example of South Asians, there was an enormous cleavage between the elite—those with advanced degrees and professional occupations—and the working class and working poor. One Indian professional complained that South Asian cab drivers in New York City, who made up 50 percent of the city's cabbies, were "spoiling things for us," and "ruining our image."77 Such internal differences and strategies of differentiation were not new to Asian America, as class, ideological, ethnic and other divides had always been present, but represented pressing issues into the late twentieth century.
However, America at the close of the twentieth century faced new frontiers against which race relations and racial politics also underwent seismic shifts. In a post-civil rights, post-industrial America, what was the role of race in the national scene? What were the lessons to be drawn from the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the 1982 killing of Chinese American Vincent Chin, the 1999 profiling and arrest of Taiwanese scientist Wen-Ho Lee, and other events in which racial suspicion or tension resulted in Asians being singled out for violence or persecution? The following chapter explores these and other developments in the late twentieth century, reflecting on the significance of recent Asian American history and its future.