The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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June 16, 2000 Issue

Doing the right thing

Congress, President are to be commended

By Tony Staley
Compass Editor

Congress and Pres. Bill Clinton did the right thing by making it easier for Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War to become U.S. citizens.

A law, signed on May 26 by Pres. Clinton, waives the English-language citizen requirement for the Hmong, (a Laotian hill people forced to move to the United States after the Vietnam War). The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency recruited the Hmong to engage in covert military actions against the North Vietnamese during the war with a promise that if anything went wrong, the Hmong would be resettled in the U.S.

When the war ended, something definitely went wrong. Communist governments in Laos and Vietnam began a wholesale slaughter of the Hmong, killing an estimated 300,000 in the last 25 years.

There are now an estimated 200,000 Hmong living in the U.S. - including an estimated 10,000 in the Green Bay Diocese.

Easing the citizenship requirements for these brave people in recognition of all they did in service to the U.S. was right and just. Congress, and in particular Rep. Bruce Vento, D-Minn., who sponsored the legislation, and Clinton are to be commended.

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