Vietnamese Amerasian Resettlement: Education, Employment, and Family
Outcomes in the United States (Letter Report, 03/31/94, GAO/PEMD-94-15).

About 75,000 Amerasians and their family members have left to resettle
in the United States under the provisions of what is commonly called the
"Amerasian Homecoming Act." These Amerasians have special ties to the
United States because their fathers were Americans serving in Vietnam
before 1976. These ties caused them to suffer hardships and
discrimination in Vietnam. In an earlier report (GAO/PEMD-94-10R), GAO
discussed the process under which eligible Amerasians and their families
participate in the resettlement program in Vietnam, receive language
instruction and cultural orientation in the Philippines, and are finally
resettled in the United States. This report focuses on the outcomes for
Amerasians and their families after resettlement has taken place,
particularly with regard to education, employment, housing, and health
care. GAO also examines factors that have helped or harmed the
successful resettlement of Amerasians.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Vietnamese Amerasian Resettlement: Education, Employment, 
             and Family Outcomes in the United States
      DATE:  03/31/94
   SUBJECT:  Immigration or emigration
             Aid to refugees
             Welfare services
             Compensatory education
             Vocational education
             Housing programs
             Health care services
             Attrition rates
             Employment or training programs
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================================================================ COVER

Report to Congressional Requesters

March 1994



Vietnamese Amerasian Resettlement

=============================================================== ABBREV

  ACNS - American Council for Nationalities Service
  AFDC - Aid to Families With Dependent Children
  GED - General Educational Development
  HHS - Department of Health and Human Services
  ICMC - International Catholic Migration Commission
  IRC - International Rescue Committee
  LIRS - Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service
  ORR - Office of Refugee Resettlement
  PRPC - Philippines Refugee Processing Center
  RDC - Refugee Data Center
  USCC - U.S.  Catholic Conference
  WRRS - World Relief Refugee Service

=============================================================== LETTER


March 31, 1994

The Honorable Romano L.  Mazzoli
Chairman, Subcommittee on International Law,
 Immigration, and Refugees
Committee on the Judiciary
House of Representatives

The Honorable Thomas J.  Ridge
House of Representatives

About 75,000 Amerasians and members of their families have left
Vietnam to resettle in the United States under the provisions of what
is commonly called the "Amerasian Homecoming Act," enacted December
1987.\1 These Amerasians have special ties to the United States
because their fathers were American citizens serving in Vietnam prior
to 1976, and because these very ties caused them to suffer hardships
and discrimination in Vietnam.  You asked us to assess both the
process and outcomes of resettling Vietnamese Amerasians in the
United States. 

We reported earlier (GAO/PEMD-93-10R) the findings from our
evaluation of the process whereby eligible Amerasians and their
families become participants in the resettlement program in Vietnam,
receive language training and cultural orientation in the
Philippines, and finally are resettled in the United States.  In the
present report, we focus on the outcomes for Amerasians and their
families after resettlement has taken place, particularly with regard
to education, employment, housing, and health care.  We also examine
the factors that have been helpful or harmful to the successful
resettlement of Amerasians. 

\1 Section 584 of P.L.  100-202 (101 Stat.  1329-183). 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

According to Toan Anh, one of the most often-cited authors on
Vietnamese culture, Vietnamese care about their families more than
about themselves.\2 Or, as Professor Thanh Van Tran of Boston College
has similarly observed:  "In traditional Vietnamese society, the
[extended] family was the center of an individual's life and
activities".\3 The bonding applies to the village as well,
particularly regarding marriages.  Dr.  Tran quotes an old Vietnamese
saying, whose literal translation is:  "It's better to marry a
village dog than a rich man elsewhere."

Marriage to foreigners was thus a taboo, particularly for women.  The
shame of marrying a foreigner fell on the whole extended family, not
just the woman.  In addition, the taboo against having a child
outside of marriage was strong, regardless of how stable the
relationship was. 

Most Amerasians were born into this social context.  Furthermore,
Amerasians and their families bore the burden of being closely linked
to the United States, Communist Vietnam's enemy in the recent war. 
As a consequence of these various factors, Amerasians in Vietnam
faced racial discrimination, received little formal education, and
were generally impoverished. 

Because Amerasians by birth have undisputed ties to the United
States, and because of humanitarian concerns for their well-being,
the Congress enacted the Amerasian Homecoming Act in December of
1987.\4 The law provides all individuals born after January 1, 1962,
and before January 1, 1976, who were fathered by a U.S.  citizen, and
their close family members, the opportunity to resettle in the United
States.  Under the law, eligible Amerasians and their family members
who depart Vietnam are admitted to the United States as immigrants
and also receive refugee benefits such as cash and medical
assistance.  In 1987, when the law was passed, it was estimated that
some 20,000 to 30,000 Amerasians and family members lived in Vietnam. 
As previously noted, a much larger number than this have already been
resettled in the United States, and it is expected that there will be
several thousand more applicants in the coming years.  (However,
there is no firm information about the number of Amerasians still
remaining in Vietnam who want to resettle in the United States, and
80 to 90 percent of the applicants are currently rejected.)

Few efforts have thus far been undertaken to systematically study the
Amerasian population in America.  Accounts have been largely
anecdotal and impressionistic.  Resettlement workers have reported
great diversity among Amerasians with regard to how well they adjust
to life in the United States; some are concerned that many Amerasians
have not been able to merge into the American social mainstream. 
They point out that Amerasians tend to remain within closed ethnic
ghettos, in much the same way as earlier immigrant groups have
behaved.  They also note that, handicapped by a language barrier, as
well as lack of education, job skills, and a stable and supportive
family, these Amerasians have been unable to move beyond the lowest
paying jobs and the poorest living conditions.  Other resettlement
workers, however, have reported that there is little or no evidence
of criminal activity, violence, or substance abuse among Amerasians,
and that a number of Amerasians have successfully completed school
and/or job training programs and have moved on to good jobs. 

\2 Vietnamese Customs:  From Self to Family (Saigon:  Dai Nam, 1969). 

\3 The Vietnamese American Family," in Charles H.  Mindel et al. 
(eds.), Ethnic Families in America:  Patterns and Variations, 3rd ed. 
(New York:  Elsevier, 1988). 

\4 The title "Amerasian Homecoming Act" is employed throughout our
report, although "Amerasian Immigration" is the term found in the

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

As we noted in our earlier report (GAO/PEMD-93-10R), the process of
resettling Amerasians starts in Vietnam, continues in the
Philippines, and ends in the United States.  The Vietnamese
government is responsible for disseminating information about the
program to the population in Vietnam, making arrangements for
Amerasians to sign up at local government offices, and providing U.S. 
officials with lists of applicants.  Teams of U.S.  officials then
interview Amerasians and family members in Ho Chi Minh City and
approve or reject cases based on supporting evidence and available
documentation, as well as on the physical appearance of Amerasian
applicants.  Cases that are approved are processed for departure to
the Philippines Refugee Processing Center (PRPC), where Amerasian
families spend about 6 months receiving training in the English
language, American culture, and job orientation. 

In our earlier review of the Amerasian resettlement program in
Vietnam, we found that, although the program has successfully
processed a large number of Amerasians and family members, some
Amerasians are still in Vietnam and are difficult to reach because of
their poor education, their remote location in rural areas of the
country, or their loss of faith in the resettlement process caused by
their being rejected in an earlier interview.  We also found that the
program has been quite expensive for participants, who typically had
to pay for such things as transportation to the interview site in Ho
Chi Minh City and fees to local Vietnamese government officials in
order to be placed on interview lists. 

Another serious problem with the program has been the large number of
fraud cases, including those involving so-called "fake"
families--that is, people pretending to be related to Amerasians in
order to secure eligibility under the 1987 law to emigrate to the
United States.  Although U.S.  government officials have implemented
more stringent measures to prevent fraud from occurring (resulting in
a high rate of rejection among applicants), there is some risk that,
by so doing, valid applicants have been turned away. 

While Amerasians are in the PRPC, their files are sent to the Refugee
Data Center (RDC) in the United States, which then places them with
one of the national resettlement agencies.  These nonprofit agencies
have cooperative agreements with the Department of State to resettle
and assist various refugee groups.  Those Amerasians with relatives
in the United States are resettled near their relatives with the help
of a local affiliate agency.  The majority, who do not have relatives
in this country, are called "free cases" and are distributed to local
affiliate agencies throughout the United States.  About two thirds of
the cases are resettled in designated cluster sites across the
country.  These cluster sites, which total about 55, have been
designated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as
areas that have a sufficient social service network and a core of
previously resettled Amerasians.  Both of these conditions are viewed
as important for the successful resettlement of newly arrived
Amerasian families. 

The Department of State provides the voluntary resettlement agencies
with grants ($588 per person in fiscal year 1992) to assist Amerasian
families in securing basic needs during their first 30 days in this
country.  Agencies are required to ensure that arriving families
receive specific services, called core services, which include food,
clothing, and shelter for the initial 30 days in the United States,
as well as counseling and referral services.  Agencies can and do
vary the level or type of assistance they provide directly to the
family, so long as core service requirements are met.  The Department
of State grant is intended to cover both the cost of direct
assistance and the resettlement agency's administrative and
service-delivery expenses. 

Upon arrival in the United States, Amerasians are generally provided
with housing for the first month, as well as some cash for food,
transportation, and other household expenses.  They are given a
medical examination and referred for treatment, if necessary, under
Medicaid, for such things as lice, worms, and tuberculosis.  Children
are placed in schools, and adults are encouraged to secure employment
as soon as possible.  Assistance in locating jobs is provided through
resettlement agencies, job developer contractors, volunteers, and
other social contacts (primarily in the Vietnamese community).  Those
Amerasians who are unable to secure employment are given AFDC
benefits, if eligible, or refugee cash and medical assistance, which
is available for a maximum of 8 months.  (The maximum period of
eligibility for federally funded refugee cash and medical assistance
has gradually been reduced--from 18 months in 1988, to 12 months in
1990, to 8 months in 1992.) Refugee cash and medical assistance is
funded by HHS and administered through the states and voluntary
agencies.  Amerasians are also eligible to participate in the many
federal, state, and local government assistance programs that provide
education, job training, and social services to low income, minority,
and other population groups. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

To examine how Amerasians and their families have adjusted to life in
the United States, we relied on different sources of information and
a number of evaluation methods.  We made use of available program
data sets, conducted structured interviews with a sample of
Amerasians, used comparison group analyses, included case studies on
specific issues, surveyed local resettlement agency workers, and
interviewed various government officials.  Because each source of
information had its strengths and weaknesses, we used a combination
of sources in our study.  Information on methods and sources is
summarized in table 1 and described in more detail in appendix I. 

                                     Table 1
                             Methods and Data Sources

Method              Source              Sample size         Purpose
------------------  ------------------  ------------------  --------------------
Use of extant data  Refugee Data        Total population    Demographic
                    Center              of Amerasians and   information,
                                        family members in   selection of sites
                                        the United States   for structured
                                        by March 1992       interviews, sample
                                        (47,299)            selection for

Structured          Amerasians in       Sample of 100       In-depth
interviews          Philadelphia and                        resettlement
                    Washington, D.C.                        experience, from

                    Comparison group    Sample of 25        To control for
                    1: non-Amerasian                        cultural and family
                    siblings of                             variables in order
                    Amerasians in                           to relate physical
                    Philadelphia and                        difference
                    Washington, D.C.                        (Amerasian versus
                                                            Vietnamese) to any
                                                            observed social
                                                            effects (such as

                    Comparison group    Sample of 30        To control for
                    2: "other                               cultural variables
                    Vietnamese" in                          in order to examine
                    Philadelphia and                        family variables
                    Washington, D.C.                        alone

Case studies        Subset of           Vocational          Outcome of promising
                    structured          training students   educational programs
                    interview samples   (10)

                                        Persistently        Best case-worst case
                                        employed (15) and   comparison
                                        unemployed (12)

                                        Family relations    Examples of family
                                        (3)                 conflict and harmony

Mail survey         All resettlement    78-percent          Accumulated
                    agencies for        response rate (128  experience of
                    Amerasians          of 164 agencies)    resettlement over
                                                            time and over many
                                                            cases, from social
                                                            workers' point of

Interviews with     Government          25 international,   To coordinate the
officials           agencies and        federal, state,     study, identify data
                    contractors         and local           sources, generate
                                        agencies, both      hypotheses, and
                                        governmental and    obtain
                                        nongovernmental     administrative

Field observation   Study team          Sites in the        To generate
                                        United States, the  hypotheses and
                                        Philippines, and    explore possible
                                        Vietnam             explanations
We first analyzed extant data from the Refugee Data Center (RDC) to
obtain basic demographic characteristics (gender, age, family
composition, and so on) and resettlement information (site, time of
arrival, sponsoring agency, and so on) for the entire Amerasian
population resettled in the United States, as of 1992.  These data
provided a useful profile of the Amerasian population that arrived in
the United States; however, they did not contain information on the
condition of Amerasians after their arrival in the United States.  To
obtain such information, we relied on two principal sources:  a
sample of Amerasians themselves and the local resettlement agencies
that assisted them. 

We selected two major resettlement sites and conducted structured
interviews with a sample of Amerasians in each location.  We chose
Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, because these
cities contained large numbers of Amerasians (who had demographic
characteristics similar to the overall population of Amerasians,
including numbers of those whose physical appearance was
predominantly "white" or "black") and a diversity of resettlement and
other social service agencies in place.  With assistance from the
RDC, the local resettlement agencies in both cities, and community
organizations, we contacted and interviewed (using
Vietnamese-speaking interviewers) a sample of 100 Amerasians.  We
designed our interviews to collect information on each subject's
educational and employment history, family status, and other
variables that profile the resettlement experience.  The effort here
was to obtain rich, in-depth information, based on personal
experience, from as diverse a sample as possible. 

We also compared the Amerasian sample with two other samples drawn in
Washington and Philadelphia, using a similar structured-interview
format.  A sample of 25 non-Amerasian siblings of Amerasians was used
to try to relate physical difference (Amerasian versus Vietnamese) to
any social effects found (discrimination, for example).  Another
sample--composed of 30 "other Vietnamese" who were not part of an
Amerasian family but were similar in terms of age and time of
arrival--was used to control for cultural variables in order to
isolate family variables for examination. 

In addition, we drew on case studies from specific subsamples of the
three interviewed groups (Amerasians, non-Amerasian siblings of
Amerasians, and "other Vietnamese") to illustrate important issues or
show the complexity of variable interactions.  With respect to
education, for example, we looked more closely at those in the
interview samples who participated in vocational training programs. 
In the area of employment, we described some of the best cases and
worst cases--namely, those who were persistently employed or
unemployed during their first 2 years in the United States.  With
regard to family relationships, we highlighted some extreme cases
where conflict or harmony predominated. 

To obtain a different perspective on the resettlement of Amerasians,
and to create a type of validating mechanism to compare against the
results of the first set of interviews, we collected information on
the varied efforts and experiences of the local resettlement
agencies.  We conducted a national survey, using a mailed
questionnaire, of the 164 agencies that were involved in resettling
Amerasian cases in 1991 and 1992.  We asked respondents to provide
information on the services they have provided to Amerasians, the
nature and extent of problems, if any, that Amerasians have faced,
and the approaches they have tried in helping Amerasians overcome
these problems.  We received responses from 78 percent of the

In addition, we interviewed various government and nongovernment
officials involved in the resettlement of Amerasians and their
families in order to coordinate the study, identify data sources,
generate hypotheses, and obtain administrative perspectives.  We met
with officials from the Departments of State and Health and Human
Services (HHS) who are responsible for implementing the resettlement
program and providing assistance to Amerasians.  We also conducted
site visits to Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines to learn about
the process that program applicants go through before reaching the
United States.  Furthermore, we interviewed many officials associated
with the various nonprofit organizations that provide training,
sponsorship, and resettlement assistance to Amerasians and other
refugee groups.  These included representatives from the
International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), World Relief
Refugee Service (WRRS), InterAction, and the Center for Applied

Our methods were thus largely qualitative.  We designed the study
this way to learn as much as possible about a generally unstudied
population for whom randomization was impossible.  The use of
different methods--interviews of the study population, validation by
observer groups, comparisons using non-Amerasian siblings and "other"
Vietnamese, and case studies on specific topics to delve into reasons
for behavior observed--reinforced the conclusiveness of our findings. 
That is, findings based on any one of the methods, used alone, would
be much less persuasive.  Nonetheless, the samples are small
(particularly for our interviews with Amerasians, non-Amerasian
siblings, and "other Vietnamese"), and our inability to randomize
means that our findings cannot be generalized beyond the population

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

In Vietnam, Amerasians generally suffered from discrimination, poor
education, and disfunctional families; the purpose of the Amerasian
Homecoming Act was to help by providing them with an opportunity to
resettle in the United States.  Yet, as past experience has shown,
the process of moving to a new country creates its own difficulties. 
It separates immigrants from their families--because their family
members are not always able or willing to resettle--as well as from
their language and culture.  In the case of Amerasian immigration,
the U.S.  government and the network of resettlement and social
service agencies have made many special efforts to assist Amerasians
and their families.  However, we found that, although these efforts
have helped, they have not overcome the difficulties that many
Amerasians in our sample have experienced in trying to adjust to life
in America. 

In our national survey of resettlement agencies, respondents reported
that the three most significant problems for Amerasians entering the
United States--in descending order of magnitude--are low educational
level, few or no job skills, and lack of English language
proficiency.  The Amerasians we studied expected to improve their
education, learn English, and acquire job skills once they arrived in
this country.  Most, however, have not come close to achieving these
goals, at least in the relatively short time they have been here in
the United States. 

In terms of education, about one fifth of the Amerasians in our
sample (19 percent) were able to continue with or graduate from
either high school or a job training program; none attended college. 
The other four fifths of the Amerasian immigrants either never
enrolled in any educational program, completed only minimal English
language training, or attended an educational program but dropped out
before completing it.  In comparison, about two fifths of the other
groups whom we studied were continuing students or graduates. 

Though Amerasians were at a distinct educational disadvantage in both
Vietnam and the United States, they for the most part were able to
find employment in the United States.  Resettlement agency workers
reported that a lack of job opportunities was a problem for only
about 30 percent of the Amerasians they helped to resettle.  At 8
months after arrival in the United States, the employment rate among
Amerasians in our sample was about 65 percent, and it stayed slightly
above this level at the 1- and 2-year points after arrival.  These
Amerasians, however, tended to have low paying, unskilled jobs that
provided little training or opportunity for advancement. 

An important question concerning the economic self-sufficiency of
Amerasian immigrants is the extent to which they improve their
condition over time.  In our study group, we did not see much
improvement, partly because of the group's reasonably high initial
employment rate, partly because of its steadily increasing number of
unemployed single mothers receiving public assistance, and partly
because of its overall lack of educational success.  When we compared
Amerasians in our sample with their siblings and other Vietnamese
peers, we saw that fewer Amerasians attended school and fewer of
those who were unemployed found jobs over time.  One important factor
that may account for the low educational achievement of many
Amerasians was lack of family support.  Amerasians in our sample who
dropped out of educational programs were also the ones most likely to
have family conflicts.  The impact of social discrimination and
family disfunction, which handicapped many of these Amerasians in
Vietnam, continued to be an important handicap for them in the United
States.  (See appendix VI.)

Despite their difficulties and underachievement relative to
comparison groups, almost two thirds of the Amerasians in our study
reported being happy with their lives in the United States because
they suffer less discrimination, have more freedom, and experience
fewer material needs than they would had they stayed in Vietnam.  The
majority of Amerasians we interviewed (71 percent) indicated that
they had faced harsh discrimination in Vietnam and reported specific
examples of such treatment.  However, only 19 percent of them noted
that discrimination was a problem for them in the United States. 
Nevertheless, Amerasians emphasized that they identified most closely
with the Vietnamese culture and associated primarily with other
Amerasians and Vietnamese, rather than with other Americans, in their
daily activities.  Like other immigrants before them, they said that
they missed the social environment and cultural surroundings within
which they had grown up. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.1

For the most part, Amerasians came to the United States with very
little educational background.  In our sample, 48 percent had
received less than a 6th grade education in Vietnam as compared with
13 percent for the two comparison groups combined (5 of the 25
siblings and 2 of the 30 other Vietnamese).  (See table 2.) Among the
19 black Amerasians in the sample, the level of education was even
lower, with 14 members of this subgroup having received less than a
sixth grade education in Vietnam.  (This deficit among black
Amerasians was not due to age or sex, because the age and sex
distributions for black and white Amerasians were similar.)

                                     Table 2
                      Highest Educational Level Attained in
                       Vietnam and in the United States, by
                                  Refugee Group

Highest educational
level                   Number   Percent    Number   Percent    Number   Percent
--------------------  --------  --------  --------  --------  --------  --------
In Vietnam
0-2 years                   17        17         1         4         0         0
3-5 years                   31        31         4        16         2         7
6-8 years                   39        39        13        52         8        27
9-12 years                  13        13         5        20        15        50
College                      0         0         2         8         5        17
Total                      100       100        25       100        30       100
In the U.S.
None                        26        26         6        24         4        13
English                     37        37         3        12        12        40
High school                 23        23        11        44         6        20
Vocational school           14        14         4        16         2         7
College                      0         0         1         4         6        20
Total                      100       100        25       100        30       100
Amerasians expected that they would receive additional education or
job training after resettling in the United States.  About 37 percent
indicated that they had expected to receive some kind of job
training, while another 36 percent expected some formal English
language training.  However, Amerasians (as well as other refugee
groups) are encouraged to find jobs and support themselves as soon as
possible after arrival in the United States, which can make it
difficult to take advantage of available educational opportunities. 

With regard to educational achievement in the United States, table 2
also shows that 26 percent of the Amerasians in our sample never
received any education or training, 37 percent attended only some
English language courses, 23 percent (primarily those who were under
18 years of age) went to high school, 14 percent enrolled in a job
training program, and none went to college.  In contrast, among the
sibling and other Vietnamese comparison groups, there were fewer (18
percent) who failed to receive any education or training in the
United States, and a small number (13 percent) enrolled in college. 

Of those Amerasians who received English language training, about 75
percent attended courses for only a short time and then did not
continue their education any further.  Most of these participants
acquired only limited English language skills, according to their own
self-assessment and that of our interviewers.  Among the group that
went to high school, there was a high dropout rate:  Almost half
failed to complete their school program.  Finally, among the few who
pursued job training, there were more dropouts (7) than graduates
(4), and only one of the graduates found employment in the area of
his training. 

Although most of the Amerasians in our study did not advance their
education in the United States, not all did so poorly.  We found that
19 percent of the Amerasian group was either still in school at the
time of our interviews or had graduated from an educational program. 
The sibling and other Vietnamese comparison groups, however, did far
better, once again, in terms of educational achievement.  (Forty-two
percent were still in school or had graduated at the time of our

The reasons for the poor educational achievement of Amerasians we
studied are varied and complex.  Overall, we found that the following
factors had a favorable but weak influence on education in the United
States:  being non-Amerasian, having more education in Vietnam,
arriving in the United States at a younger age, and being a woman. 
Family situation, on the other hand, appeared more strongly related. 
In our sample, Amerasians who dropped out of school reported more
family problems than those who continued their education.  These
findings, along with the quantitative results given previously (and
described in appendix III), are again reinforced by the findings from
our case studies. 

We focused on those individuals in our interview samples who began
their education in the United States with vocational training.  Job
training programs appeared to be particularly important for
Amerasians because few had useful job skills upon arrival in the
United States and their educational backgrounds were too weak for
more academic programs such as those offered by colleges.  Ten people
in our interview samples (including 8 Amerasians, 1 non-Amerasian
sibling, and 1 other Vietnamese) began their education in the United
States with vocational training.  Of these 10, 4 had dropped out, 3
had graduated, and 3 were still being trained at the time of our

Of the four cases who dropped out, all were Amerasians.  The first
individual who dropped out was illiterate even in Vietnamese and had
no education in Vietnam.  Her family--including her mother, adopted
father, an older brother, and two younger half-siblings--remained in
Vietnam, but she came to the United States because she had
experienced discrimination in Vietnam against her black skin and
American connection.  At the time of our interview, she was
unemployed, trying to learn some English on her own, and worrying
about the future, but she did not want to go back to Vietnam.  In
this case, both poor educational background and a lack of family
support in the United States made her desire for vocational training
a practical impossibility, regardless of her efforts. 

The next individual, a white Amerasian with a fifth grade education,
who left his mother in Vietnam and came to the United States alone,
began to study welding within a month of his arrival.  He
subsequently dropped out of his training program to take an
entry-level job and later told our interviewer that he was saving
money for tuition in order to reenroll in a vocational training
program to qualify as a welder.  In this case, the Amerasian stated
he would have been able to stay in school had he had a supportive
family in the United States to contribute both money and

A third individual in this group, a white Amerasian, had completed
ninth grade and 4 years of English language instruction in Vietnam. 
He came to the United States with his mother and a stepfather who was
more than 30 years older than his mother.  He had an intense conflict
with the stepfather who, he said, abused his mother.  In this case,
although the family was present, it offered little support to the

The fourth individual, a white Amerasian who had an eighth grade
education and 4 months of English language instruction in Vietnam,
was the only dropout in the group who displayed no indication of
family problems.  In 2 years, he was able to make some progress
towards obtaining a General Educational Development (GED) diploma,
but he dropped out after completing only a small part of the
technical training program.  The school then referred him to an
entry-level job that required no training.  In this case, family
support enabled the Amerasian to remain in the training program for a
considerable period (2 years).  However, his slow progress towards
completing the program was a factor in his dropping out. 

In contrast to the dropouts, the three members of our sample who
graduated from a training program all had families with whom they
reported getting along well.  Two of the individuals, an Amerasian
and a non-Amerasian sibling, received very limited training:  1 month
of sewing and 3 months of shirt sleeve assembly.  Both, however, were
unable to make use of their training and were employed in unskilled
jobs.  The third graduate, a non-Amerasian Vietnamese woman, was the
only example of clear success.  She had graduated from a cosmetology
program, was able to find work that fit her training, and was using
the income from her job to help finance a college education.  She had
a strong educational background in Vietnam and a large supportive
family in the United States. 

Although job training programs such as Job Corps exist, there were
not enough opportunities for Amerasians (as shown by the difference
between the 37 percent of our sample who expected training and the 14
percent who received any form of it), while those who were able to
attend programs experienced problems in completing them.  Some of the
former Job Corps students in our sample said that one of their
reasons for dropping out was their inability to acquire enough
facility with English to get into the job training program itself. 
They also mentioned feeling lost, homesick, and misunderstood in a
foreign environment where no one knew the Vietnamese language or
culture, as well as discouraged by the fact that even graduates of
the program had difficulty finding jobs. 

A teacher in one Job Corps program that accepted several Amerasian
and Vietnamese students confirmed the language problem and added
other observations:  (1) There were few openings in technical
programs and thus great competition for such openings, so Amerasians
with weak English skills had little chance of getting in; (2) one
teacher could speak Vietnamese, but her language skills were not much
used; (3) the placements into the program were probably not
appropriate, so Amerasians with very weak academic backgrounds were
admitted and subsequently might remain in the program for years
without passing the English requirement; and finally (4) while going
through the long English language course, Amerasian students could
not learn anything technical, which was their real interest.  The
same teacher noted that real improvements could be made via better
placement, greater flexibility to start some form of technical
training along with English language instruction, and the presence of
a counselor who spoke Vietnamese.  (Vietnamese, including Amerasians,
constituted the largest student group at that school.)

Appendix III provides more information on education. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.2

Although Amerasians came to the United States with few job skills, a
majority of those in our study sample (58 percent) expected that jobs
would not be hard to find, and in fact, a majority (60 percent) were
employed at the time of interview.  The resettlement agencies
responding to our national survey estimated that, of all the
Amerasians they had helped to resettle (in 1991 and 1992) and with
whom they were still in contact, 76 percent were employed after 1
year and 81 percent after 2 years.  In our interview sample, after
excluding all students, 74 percent of Amerasians were employed after
1 year and 69 percent after 2 years.  The Amerasians we studied who
did find jobs tended to find them relatively soon after resettlement,
somewhere between the second and eighth month.  The types of job
tended to be mostly low-paying ones, such as housekeeping in hotels,
dishwashing in restaurants, and assembly line work in factories.  The
average starting hourly wage was $5.71; the average current wage (at
the time of our interviews) was $6.54.  Respondents reported learning
some skills on the job; however, there was little formal training

The factors most commonly cited by the Amerasians in our sample as
helpful in gaining employment were having contacts, willingness to
work any time for low pay, and being pleasant with others.  (See
table 3.) The primary sources of contacts were the resettlement
agencies, sponsors assigned by the agencies, and Vietnamese friends
in the community.  The difficulties in obtaining work cited were poor
English skills, lack of experience, lack of transportation, and the
presence of children.  English was considered to be important not in
terms of the ability to do the work, but rather in terms of making
contacts, filling out applications, and having successful interviews
with prospective employers.  Transportation was also a problem
because many of our interviewees relied on public transportation and
job opportunities were often in difficult to reach locations or were
conducted during night shifts when public transportation was not

                           Table 3
              Hindering and Helpful Factors for
             Employment in the United States, by
                        Refugee Group

                         Amerasia  Siblin  Vietnames
Employment factor             n\a     g\b        e\c   Total
-----------------------  --------  ------  ---------  ======
Not having                     23       8          8      39
Having a child                 12       1          0      13
Not having a phone              3       2          2       7
Not having English             40      10          6      56
 language skills
Not having experience          29       5          9      43
Having school hours             3       0          7      10
 that conflict with
 work hours
Other                          10       2          4      16
Having contacts                65      11         16      92
Having experience               4       0          6      10
Having learned well in          2       3          2       7
 the PRPC
Having resettlement             4       4          0       8
 agency support during
Having a flexible              41      13          9      63
Having job skills               2       1          5       8
Having a pleasant              27       9         11      47
Having English language         9       1          6      16
Having low pay                 44      10         11      65
Other                          17       2          4      23
\a Number = 100. 

\b Number = 25. 

\c Number = 30. 

We examined several factors--year of arrival, educational background,
resettlement site, and gender--to determine whether they affected
differences in employment status for those in our sample.  Although
some resettlement experts have noted that employment rates among
refugee groups often start off low and then increase over time
(because of the period needed for adjustment), we found partial
evidence that the employment rate for Amerasians was higher among the
more recent arrivals than among those who resettled earlier.  Only 40
percent of the Amerasians in our sample who arrived in 1989 or
earlier were employed at the time of our interviews, as compared with
58 percent and 73 percent, respectively, of those who arrived in 1990
and 1991.  The differences may be the result of greater governmental
emphasis in the last few years on early self-sufficiency.  Another
important factor, however, is the correlation between an increase in
the percentage of single Amerasian mothers receiving Aid to Families
With Dependent Children (AFDC) and length of residence in the United
States.  Our small sample shows a consistent increase in the rate of
AFDC recipients among Amerasian women, and that rate is much higher
than the rate among siblings or other Vietnamese.  (See table IV.6
for more information on Amerasian AFDC recipients.)

Since most jobs that Amerasians in our sample secured required
neither English language skills nor significant education, those with
poor educational backgrounds were not necessarily worse off in terms
of finding employment.  For example, black Amerasians consistently
had the highest rate of employment.  However, a lower percentage of
Amerasian women in our study were employed (41 percent) as compared
with Amerasian men (78 percent), partially at least because many
Amerasian women were single mothers (as previously described). 
Another factor may have been cultural:  in Vietnam, the expectation
is for men to be the main breadwinners, while women run the domestic

In order to look more closely at the employment situation for
Amerasians, we focused on two subgroups from our interview samples
that represent extreme cases:  those who were either persistently not
employed or employed since arrival.  We included in these groups
those individuals who were either working or not working at all four
of the checkpoints covered in our study (2 months, 8 months, 1 year,
and 2 years after arrival).  There were 15 in the not working and 12
in the working group. 

Among the nonworkers, there were 4 men and 11 women.  Of the 4 men, 3
were students (1 Vietnamese in college and 2 Amerasians in the Job
Corps), and another Amerasian lived with a girlfriend and their
child, who were on AFDC.  Of the 11 nonworking women, 6 had children
and boyfriends.  Of these 6 (4 of whom were Amerasians), 5 were on
AFDC, and a sixth was pregnant and anticipating AFDC.  Of the other
5, 2 had children but no steady boyfriends and were on AFDC (1 had 2
children fathered by 2 different men, both of whom had left her); 2
were students (1 Vietnamese in job training and 1 Amerasian taking
English courses); the other one had received a month of vocational
training in clothing assembly but could not use it.  This last
individual eventually found a job about 2-1/2 years after arrival and
had held it for over a year by the time of the interview.  Two
tentative and related conclusions can be arrived at with regard to
our sample:  Gender played a big role, and family situation was
important.  While most nonworking men went to school (3 out of 4),
most nonworking women took care of children (8 out of 11).  Most of
those women with children (6 of 8) lived with the children's fathers,
and most (7 of 8) received AFDC support. 

There were 10 men and 2 women who were working at all four of the
time periods, of whom 8 were Amerasians.  All 12 individuals
indicated that they had close relationships with their families (3 of
the men were married), and all were still working at the time of
interview.  Their average starting salary was $6.08 per hour, and at
the time of interview, they averaged $8.22 per hour.  Their job
categories varied:  Three worked in electronic assembly, 2 in meat
processing, 2 in car parts, 2 in welding, 1 in carpentry, 1 in
sewing, and 1 in a hotel.  Their educational backgrounds in Vietnam
varied, although 4 of the 12 had less than a sixth grade education. 
(The proportion was 7 of 15 in the persistent nonworker group.) All
but two had received no schooling in the United States.  All members
of the persistent worker group started with jobs that did not require
English, education, or experience.  Nine remained in their first
jobs, one resigned to accept a similar job, and one lost a number of
jobs but found others.  Only one changed to a better job. 

This last case was different in many respects.  The Amerasian in
question was an orphan whose mother had died when he was seven, so he
had only a first grade education.  He somehow managed to learn how to
read and write Vietnamese, though with difficulty.  He came to the
United States alone.  His profile of no family and low education was
not promising, yet his achievement was remarkable and was due at
least in part to the unusual social ties he made in the United

The resettlement agency introduced him to an American couple who
developed and maintained a close relationship with him.  Soon after
arrival in the United States, he married an educated Vietnamese
woman, and they had a child.  His first job, in a shipping and
receiving department, did not require English, experience, or
training.  He received job training at the same time.  After 1 year,
he took a job as a metal worker, which required English.  His third
job was in the field for which he was trained, welding.  This job
required English, training, and experience. 

This Amerasian rated his first two jobs as "easy" and liked them
"okay." He found the third job very challenging and liked it very
much.  In responding to the open-ended question stem, "What I like
about myself is-," he wrote "that I have been able to do the job that
I wished for." Yet, he wanted to advance further:  His plan for the
next year was to learn more English and pass the GED test; after 3
years, it was to learn underwater welding; and for 10 years later,
"becoming a United States citizen."

Appendix IV provides more information on employment. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.3

Upon arrival in the United States, Amerasian families are provided
with housing by the resettlement agencies for at least the first
month.  Thereafter, families pay their own housing costs either
through the refugee cash assistance they receive or from income
earned from employment.  Housing costs are the biggest part of living
expenses for Amerasian families, taking up most of the cash
assistance they receive.  To minimize expenses, many families live in
poor neighborhoods and share apartments with other families. 

The areas where Amerasians reside often contain large concentrations
of other Amerasians and Vietnamese.  The Amerasians in our sample
indicated that, by seeking out concentrated Vietnamese neighborhoods
in which to reside, they were able to maintain social contacts and to
feel part of a community.  Our national survey of resettlement
agencies showed that affordable housing was more of a problem for
Amerasians in larger cities than in smaller ones.  Agency workers
estimated that an average of 17 percent of Amerasians they helped to
resettle experienced difficulty in finding affordable housing in
cities of less than 100,000 population, as compared with 37 percent
experiencing this difficulty in cities of over 500,000 population. 

Comprehensive health care was provided to Amerasians during the
initial steps of the resettlement process.  After resettlement in the
United States, however, their lack of information, English language
skills, and transportation made health care difficult to obtain for
most Amerasians in our interview sample.  Mental health care was even
more difficult for Amerasians to secure, and was the unmet need most
commonly cited by resettlement agencies. 

Appendix V provides more information on housing and health care. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

The Amerasian Homecoming Act has been successful in bringing a large
number of Amerasians and their family members to the United States. 
The combined efforts of the various agencies involved in resettlement
have helped Amerasians and their families adjust to a new life and
cultural setting.  The Amerasians in our sample were relatively happy
in the United States, reporting that their quality of life had
improved compared with what it would have been had they stayed in
Vietnam.  Better employment opportunities, fewer material needs, less
discrimination, and greater freedom were some of the factors they
cited in support of this judgment.  In addition, from an objective
perspective, these Amerasians have done reasonably well with respect
to employment, with about 60 percent able to find work within a
relatively short time. 

The Amerasians we studied came to the United States poorly equipped
in terms of language, education, job skills, and family support. 
This last problem, in particular, has made it difficult for
Amerasians to take advantage of available educational opportunities,
find jobs (other than the entry-level, low-pay sort), and generally
become integrated into the American community.  The Amerasians we
interviewed tended to live in crowded housing in poor neighborhoods,
had difficulty accessing available health care, lacked adequate
transportation, and tended to associate only with other Amerasians
and Vietnamese.  At the same time, they expressed longings for the
relationships, families, language, food, and climate they had left
behind in Vietnam. 

Amerasians and their families only began arriving in the United
States in large numbers in 1989, so most have not been here for very
long.  It is too soon to tell whether Amerasians can improve their
condition over time or face the prospect of lifelong social and
economic marginality.  Although Amerasians have made some gains
relative to their situation in Vietnam, further gains may be more
difficult to secure if they cannot acquire basic language, education,
and job skills.  The Amerasians in our sample expressed an eagerness
to learn English and to receive job training.  This is a strength
that could be turned to good advantage.  However, their persistence
in school and work and their general well-being can largely depend on
family support and social contacts. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

Given that the purpose of the Amerasian Homecoming Act was to offer
Amerasians the opportunity to come to the United States and to help
them get resettled once they arrived here, it is important that the
U.S.  government monitor and assess their situation after
resettlement.  Studies like this one provide a first step in
examining how well Amerasians are doing in this country.  The
Congress may wish, therefore, to encourage the Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) to determine what strategies are effective
in addressing the needs of Amerasians--particularly the needs
identified here in the areas of job training and social support
systems--and then to monitor their progress. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :8

HHS and the Department of State provided oral comments on a draft of
our report.  Both agencies agreed in general with our findings and
conclusions.  They also provided technical comments, which we have
incorporated in our report. 

We are sending copies of this report to HHS and the Department of
State, as well as to others who are interested.  If you have any
questions or would like additional information, please call me at
(202) 512-2900 or Kwai-Cheung Chan, Director of Program Evaluation in
Physical Systems Areas, at (202) 512-3092. 

Eleanor Chelimsky
Assistant Comptroller General

=========================================================== Appendix I

In conducting this study, we used a combination of methods:  analyses
of extant data, structured interviews, case studies, mailed survey,
interviews with officials, and field observation.  This appendix
discusses how each method was used. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:1

RDC, a Department of State contractor located in New York City,
maintains a database that contains certain basic demographic
information on all refugees coming into the United States.  From this
data set, we obtained a general description of all Amerasians
entering the United States (1988-92) in terms of such variables as
age, sex, number and category of accompanying family members, arrival
date, resettlement location, name of sponsoring agency, and
educational background.  However, RDC does not track refugees after
resettlement, so we consulted other sources for resettlement outcome

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:2

The main data source in our report is a sample of the Amerasians
themselves.  Since Amerasians are scattered all over the United
States, and many move within the same city or to other cities after
resettlement, a true random sample would be, practically speaking,
impossible to obtain.  To make our data collection feasible, we
limited the geographic area sampled to two cities with fairly large
concentrations of Amerasians.  The RDC data gave us the Amerasian
population characteristics for the entire United States, as well as
those for each city.  We selected two large cities--Philadelphia and
Washington, D.C.--with general Amerasian profiles similar to that of
the overall Amerasian population in the United States. 

Our next step was to select a sample as close to random as possible
in each of the two cities.  RDC data again provided us with the name
of each Amerasian family and the resettlement agency that sponsored
them, in each city.  We then took a random sample from the RDC list
of names for each city, and subsequently contacted the resettlement
agencies for the addresses of the Amerasians selected. 
Unfortunately, the agencies varied widely with regard to the
availability and accuracy of their current records.  As a result, we
could not obtain address information for many of the names included
in our list.  We therefore had to make various modifications to our
sampling plan. 

In Philadelphia, we sampled from a list of refugees that the agencies
provided, and even then many addresses were not current. 
Consequently, we had to go through about 200 names (sorted into
random order) in order to find 44 Amerasians.  Halfway through the
process, when we realized that a large number of those on our list of
refugees had moved, we decided to supplement the sample by adding 21
more refugees, including 17 Amerasians who had relocated to
Souderton, a suburb of Philadelphia popular with Vietnamese

In Washington, D.C., one agency in particular, the International
Rescue Committee (IRC), had resettled so many Amerasians, and also
had so much more current information on them, that we had to alter
our sampling methods--for example, by using neighbors' references--to
include more Amerasians resettled by agencies other than IRC. 
However, even after making such modifications to our original
sampling plan, we were still able to adhere to our goal of selecting
a diverse sample that included both male and female, and black and
white, Amerasians, as well as those who arrived at different times
during the period 1988-92 and those resettled by different agencies. 

Our literature review showed that the lack of a random sample is the
rule rather than the exception in refugee research.  We posed this
lack of randomness as an issue at a recent international conference
on refugee mental health at Harvard University, and conference
participants simply acknowledged the reality of this situation. 
Statistical adjustments would be possible, but the foundation for
such adjustments might not be sound.  As a result, we primarily
report descriptive sample statistics rather than statistically
significant indicators such as p values.  Validity can also be
inferred from whether other data, such as the survey of resettlement
workers discussed later in this report, concur with our interview

We compared the 100 Amerasians in our sample with 25 Amerasian
half-siblings (not Amerasians) and 30 other Vietnamese (who did not
have an Amerasian in the family and who came to the United States
under other programs) to control for socioeconomic status and ethnic
background, respectively.  These comparison subjects matched the
Amerasian subjects in terms of age (between 16 and 26), year of
arrival (between 1988 and 1992), and first resettlement experience
(generally having gone through the same resettlement agencies and
moved into the same neighborhoods). 

We designed our interviews to obtain each subject's educational
history, employment history, and family situation, as well as a
number of other factors described previously.  However, the interview
would have been too long and difficult if conducted by an American
with an interpreter.  (None of our subjects was fluent enough in
English to complete a whole interview in English without difficulty.)
At each of our two sites, we used one primary interviewer who spoke
Vietnamese fluently, had at least 1 year of experience in Amerasian
resettlement, and was known in the larger Vietnamese community.  To
enhance the consistency and reliability of the two primary
interviewers, we trained them together.  In addition, they went out
on selected interviews together, alternately interviewing and
observing.  After the data were collected, we also asked the two
interviewers to explain each item in the interview and to make
necessary adjustments.  We also conducted a number of analyses
comparing our two sites and looked for differences in the data
collected that might be attributable to interviewer bias. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:3

We conducted three case studies to develop more information on three
particular aspects of resettlement:  education, employment, and
family relations.  The first case study focused on education.  To
avoid selection bias, we chose all individuals in a particular
category--that is, all those in the interview sample who started
their education in the United States with vocational training. 
Vocational training was desired by many Amerasians in our sample as a
way of developing the necessary skills for advancement in the United
States.  We looked at what the Amerasians in our sample studied,
whether they finished the program, what they did after completing
their studies, what factors (particularly academic and family
backgrounds) might explain their outcomes, and how they felt about
their experiences. 

The second case study focused on employment.  Again, to avoid
selection bias, we selected all cases in two particular categories: 
those who have been consistently employed and those who were
consistently unemployed during their first 2 years in the United
States.  For those who were employed, we looked at the types of jobs
held, wages, and advances over time.  For the unemployed, we tried to
find the reasons for their remaining in this category.  For both
groups, we looked into gender roles, academic and social backgrounds,
current family composition, and individual perspectives on what had

The third case study focused on the more elusive topic of family
relationships.  Instead of studying a particular category, we
selected two individuals and one Amerasian family to study in the
greatest possible detail.  For all three, we looked at experiences
and views; for the family, we pursued a more elaborate strategy
involving data gathering in both Vietnam and the United States. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:4

We conducted a national survey to learn about the various efforts and
direct experiences of the local agencies involved in resettling
Amerasians in the United States.  Officials from these agencies have
accumulated a great deal of information after many resettlement cases
and thus provided a perspective different from that of the Amerasians
themselves.  We asked respondents from the resettlement agencies to
assess the problems, if any, that Amerasians have faced while
resettling in this country, as well as their degree of success in
overcoming these problems.  We also asked for respondents'
observations on what aspects of resettlement have worked well, not so
well, or need to be changed. 

From lists provided by the Department of State, we identified 164
agencies that resettled Amerasians and their families in 1991 and
1992.  We then mailed our questionnaire to all 164 of these agencies. 
We received 128 responses from them, for an overall response rate of
78 percent.  Ten of the respondents, however, indicated that they did
not resettle Amerasians in 1991 or 1992.  Thus, the information we
present in this study is based on responses from 118 agencies and
field offices.  (The field office data were reported through

We performed some nonrespondent analyses on the basis of geographic
location and type of resettling agency--that is, according to whether
the agency was a cluster site as designated by HHS.  Our analyses
indicated that nonrespondents did not differ substantially from

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:5

We interviewed government and nongovernment officials in 25 agencies
involved in various aspects of Amerasian resettlement.  In the United
States, we interviewed officials from HHS, from three offices in the
State Department (dealing with admissions, training, and placements),
the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), the Lutheran
Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), the Center for Applied
Linguistics, InterAction, and 6 local resettlement agencies (3 in
Philadelphia, 1 in Souderton, and 2 in Washington, D.C.).  In the
Philippines, we interviewed representatives of the United Nations and
the Philippine government at the PRPC, the ICMC staff, Community and
Family Services International officials, and the director of the
transit center in Manila.  In Thailand, we interviewed officials of
the Orderly Departure Program, and the ICMC staff.  In Vietnam, we
interviewed officials and staff from the Vietnamese Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, the Amerasian Transit Center, the Red Cross, and the
Orderly Departure Program. 

In addition, we also coordinated with the national voluntary
resettlement agencies working with InterAction, the local
resettlement agencies in Washington, and the Refugee Data Center

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:6

We also had the opportunity to talk with many different program
officials and Amerasians during our visits to Vietnam and the
Philippines.  In Vietnam, we observed several interviews of Amerasian
families conducted by U.S.  officials for the purpose of determining
program eligibility.  Finally, we spoke with Amerasian families at
their homes in the United States, recording both Amerasians'
responses and interviewers' observations. 

We conducted our review in accordance with generally accepted
government auditing standards between May 1992 and May 1993. 

========================================================== Appendix II

Although the Amerasian Homecoming Act was passed in December 1987,
Amerasian resettlement cases did not begin to arrive in this country
in large numbers until 1989.  The reason for the delay between
enactment of the legislation and the time when resettlement cases
actually came to the United States was that the process for
registering and approving applicants in Vietnam was not implemented
until the spring of 1988, and only then were families sent to the
Philippines for 6 months of training. 

As of August of 1993, 131,814 people had signed up for the
resettlement program.  Of those, 126,493 were interviewed, 77,577
were approved, 74,879 left Vietnam for the Philippines, and 68,558
arrived in the United States.  Except for that in figure II.1, the
data in this appendix reflect the situation as of March 1992 and
include 47,299 people; of those, 13,060 were Amerasians.  Figure II.1
presents the number of arrivals through August of 1993. 

   Figure II.1:  Arrivals of
   Amerasians and Family Members,
   by Fiscal Year

   (See figure in printed

Source:  Amerasian Update, No.  51 (October 1993), attachment A. 

The principal resettlement agencies that sponsored Amerasian cases
are depicted in figure II.2.  Five resettlement agencies--American
Council for Nationalities Service (ACNS), International Rescue
Committee (IRC), Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service (LIRS), U.S. 
Catholic Conference (USCC), and World Relief Refugee Service
(WRRS)--have resettled over 90 percent of the Amerasian cases, with
USCC clearly the agency with the largest caseload of Amerasian

   Figure II.2:  Resettlement
   Agencies, by Percent of
   Sponsored Refugees

   (See figure in printed

Note:  "Other" category includes the American Fund for Czechoslovak
Refugees, Inc.; the Episcopal Migration Ministries; the Hebrew Aid
Society; and the Iowa Department of Human Services, Bureau of Refugee

Source:  Data furnished by RDC. 

The median family size of arriving cases is three.  As shown in
figure II.3, 12 percent of Amerasians arrived alone, 68 percent
arrived with families that totaled 2 to 5 members, and 20 percent
arrived in families of 6 or more members.  As further illustrated in
figure II.4, family members are for the most part parents and
siblings.  Among Amerasians, 48 percent were women, 16 percent were
married, and 14 percent declared themselves Christians.  Seventeen
percent were under the age of 18.  Fewer than 2 percent were
unaccompanied minors to be placed in foster care. 

   Figure II.3:  Amerasian
   Case-Size Distribution

   (See figure in printed

Source:  Data furnished by RDC. 

   Figure II.4:  Family
   Composition of Amerasian
   Resettlement Cases

   (See figure in printed

Source:  Data furnished by RDC. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix II:1

Based on self-reporting of education in Vietnam, 7 percent of the
Amerasians had not been to any school, 65 percent had completed some
primary school, and 18 percent had completed some secondary school. 
(See figure II.5.) In comparison, siblings of Amerasians tended to
have slightly better educational backgrounds, with fewer (3 percent)
not having had any schooling and more (29 percent) having completed
some secondary school. 

   Figure II.5:  Educational
   Attainment in Vietnam of
   Amerasians and Siblings

   (See figure in printed

Source:  Data furnished by RDC. 

When Amerasians were given a brief test for class placement in the
PRPC, 11 percent were illiterate in any language including
Vietnamese, 69 percent knew Vietnamese but no English, and 8 percent
knew some English (though none were fluent enough to assist in
classes).  In comparison, siblings of Amerasians had slightly better
literacy skills:  Fewer (4 percent) had no English or Vietnamese
literacy and more (18 percent) had some English and Vietnamese
literacy.  (See figure II.6.)

   Figure II.6:  English and
   Vietnamese Literacy of
   Amerasians and Siblings

   (See figure in printed

Note:  Levels reflect tests conducted at start of PRPC program.  (A
special high school preparation program was provided for those aged
13 to 16; however, no literacy test score was available for this age

Source:  Data furnished by RDC. 

Self-reporting of education in Vietnam and class placement test
results in the PRPC agreed fairly closely.  For example, those who
tested as illiterate either lacked any formal schooling or had only
primary schooling.  Most of those who had fair English were in either
high school or college.  When there was a disagreement, it was hard
to tell how much of the difference was due to people reporting
incorrectly, to the fact that the short test was inaccurate, or to
other factors (for example, to schools having different standards or
to people receiving schooling at different times).  Thus, no
statistical adjustment or correction was attempted for self-reporting

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix II:2

With regard to occupation, there were no Amerasians with professional
work experience.  More than 31 percent of resettled Amerasians did
not list any specific occupation, and another 17 percent were younger
than 18.  The major occupations listed by Amerasians included farmer
(12 percent), benchworker (10 percent), and street vendor (8
percent).  Only 28 people, or 0.2 percent, were disabled.  (See table

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix II:3

Women were more likely to be married than men (23 percent versus 10
percent, respectively).  Fewer women than men left Vietnam alone (9
percent versus 15 percent).  Fewer women tested illiterate (8 percent
versus 11 percent), and more women than men reported being in high
school (20 percent versus 16 percent).  The common occupations among
women were tailoring, sales, and domestic and other services; among
men, farming and tailoring.  There was no difference in terms of
religious affiliation. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix II:4

Our Amerasian interview sample resembled the previously described
total Amerasian population in the United States.  (See tables II.1
and II.2.) There were slightly more men than women in our sample, and
there were more arrivals in 1990 and 1991 than in previous years. 
The interview sample included fewer people who arrived in 1992
because our data collection occurred during that year.  Only 14
percent of our sample were younger than 18 (compared with a general
population rate of 17 percent).  The education profiles could not be
compared directly because the educational level of 11 percent of the
RDC population was unknown. 

                          Table II.1
            Characteristics of Refugee Interview-
                        Sample Groups

                          Amerasia  Siblin  Vietnames
Characteristic                   n       g          e  Total
------------------------  --------  ------  ---------  =====
Male                            54      12         12     78
Female                          46      13         18     77
Year of U.S. arrival
1989 or earlier                 19       4          6     29
1990                            42      10          7     59
1991                            31       7          9     47
1992                             8       4          8     20
Age at arrival
Up to 17                        14       6          3     23
18                               9       4          3     16
19 and over                     77      15         24    116
Washington, D.C.                39       5          7     51
Pennsylvania                    61      20         23    104
Education in Vietnam
0-2 years                       17       1          0     18
3-5 years                       31       4          2     37
6-8 years                       39      13          8     60
9-12 years                      13       5         15     33
College                          0       2          5      7
Total                          100      25         30    155

                          Table II.2
            Sex and Race of Amerasians Interviewed

Race                                Male    Female     Total
------------------------------  --------  --------  ========
Black                                 10         9        19
White                                 44        37        81
Total                                 54        46       100

========================================================= Appendix III

This section addresses the following questions: 

  What education did Amerasians expect to get in the United States? 

  What educational opportunities did they have in the United States? 

  What was their educational attainment in the United States? 

  To what extent did factors such as educational background, gender,
     and race influence Amerasians' educational achievement in the
     United States? 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:1

Our Amerasian interviewees were asked to recall what kind of
education, if any, they expected to receive in the United States,
before they left Vietnam.  Their most frequent expectation was of
some vocational job training (37 percent) and English language
training (36 percent).  (See table III.1.) Few Amerasians expected to
receive college or professional education (8 percent), but more
siblings of Amerasians and other Vietnamese did (28 percent and 33
percent, respectively).  The other 18 percent of Amerasians expected
that they would have little opportunity to learn anything.  How old
Amerasians were when they arrived in the United States did not seem
to influence their expectations.  Those who had more education in
Vietnam, however, expected more education in the United States.  (See
table III.2.)

                                   Table III.1
                      Expected Highest Level of Education in
                       the United States, by Refugee Group

Expected highest
level of education
in the U.S.             Number   Percent    Number   Percent    Number   Percent
--------------------  --------  --------  --------  --------  --------  --------
No expectation               1         1         0         0         0         0
No opportunity              18        18         4        16         5        17
English                     36        36         7        28         4        13
Vocational                  37        37         7        28        11        37
Professional                 8         8         7        28        10        33
Total                      100       100        25       100        30       100

                                   Table III.2
                      Amerasians' Expected Highest Level of
                        Education in the United States, by
                           Educational Level in Vietnam

Education in            No            No
Vietnam        expectation   opportunity     English    Vocational  Professional
------------  ------------  ------------  ----------  ------------  ------------
0-2 years                0             4          10             3             0
3-5 years                0            10           7            13             1
6-8 years                1             3          15            16             4
9-12 years               0             1           4             5             3
Note:  There were 100 Amerasians in our sample. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:2

The U.S.  government's policy with respect to refugees, including
Amerasians, has been to encourage the achievement of self-sufficiency
as soon as possible after arrival in this country.  That is, refugees
are advised to find jobs and support themselves unless they are
physically unable to do so or are younger than 18 (in which case,
they attend high school).  (See table III.3.) During the initial
8-month period in which they are eligible to receive government cash
assistance, unemployed refugees are encouraged to take English as a
Second Language (English) courses.  In some cases, attending such
courses can be a condition for receiving government cash assistance. 
(These English language programs differ widely with regard to the
quality, level, intensity, and length of instruction.)

                         Table III.3
             Amerasians' Initial Schooling in the
               United States, by Age at Arrival

                                                      19 and
First school in the U.S.        Up to 17        18      over
------------------------------  --------  --------  --------
No school                              0         2        24
English                                0         2        39
High school                           14         5         6
Vocational school                      0         0         8
Note:  There were 100 Amerasians in our sample. 

With or without English language skills, some Amerasians are able to
enroll in job training centers or other educational programs that are
available.  Job training programs appear to be particularly important
for Amerasians because few have job skills upon arrival in the United
States and their educational backgrounds are too weak for more
academic programs, such as college-level ones.  Some job training
programs in the United States, however, require that students have
English language proficiency and certain high school course work
completed.  These conditions make it difficult for Amerasians to
acquire job training.  High school, for the most part, becomes less
of a viable option as the age of Amerasians arriving in this country
increases beyond the age limit (18 years) for enrollment in public
schools.  Since the Amerasian Homecoming Act program is limited to
applicants born during the period 1962-75, the youngest incoming
Amerasians as of 1993 were 18 years of age. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:3

----------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:3.1

One method of analysis we employed to study the education of
Amerasians is called "state-sequential," a variation of the
stage-state analysis.\1 This method involved tracking the different
paths people take with regard to education in the United States. 
That is, after participating in one type of education or training
program, an individual may or may not go on to another (for example,
from high school to job training or from job training to college). 

Different paths in the state-sequential analysis can be combined to
find the highest levels of education attained by Amerasians in our
sample since their resettlement in this country.  (See table 2.) We
present educational achievement in the following rank order, from
high to low:  college, job training program, high school, English
language instruction, and no school.  Although most of the order is
self-evident, job training could be considered higher or lower than
high school.  A 1-month program, for example, is clearly less than 4
years of high school.  On the other hand, a job training program that
provides a GED-equivalent education as a first step is probably
superior to high school.  We generally considered job training to be
higher for two reasons.  First, some participants in our study
graduated from high school before entering a job training program,
while none did the reverse.  Second, job training programs generally
led more directly to employment (and thus to self-sufficiency) than
did a high school education, even if the latter were better overall. 

\1 See William McKinley Runyan, "A Stage-State Analysis of the Life
Course," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38:6 (1980),

----------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:3.2

Upon arrival in the United States, 25 percent of the Amerasians in
our sample entered high schools, 41 percent went to English classes
for various lengths of time, and only 8 percent entered job training
programs before any other program.  No Amerasian in our sample went
to college, and another 26 percent never went to any school after
resettling in this country. 

About one quarter of the 41 Amerasians who attended English language
classes continued their education in either vocational training
programs or by taking additional English courses; the others had no
further training or education.  Most English language students
acquired some English by the time they stopped going to classes, but
virtually none were able to speak English fluently.  In fact, most
Amerasians in our sample had very limited English proficiency based
on our interviewers' judgment, and many continued to rely on
resettlement agency personnel and others for translation and literacy
assistance.  Among the 25 Amerasians in our sample who went to high
school, 12 dropped out and only 2 graduated.  The few Amerasians who
graduated from a U.S.  high school did not continue with any further
education or training. 

Over time, the percentage of Amerasians who attended a job training
program increased from 8 percent to 14 percent.  Among these
Amerasian students, however, there were as many dropouts as there
were graduates.  Of the 14 Amerasians in our sample who attended a
vocational program, 4 graduated, 7 dropped out, and only 3 were still
in a program at the time of our interview.  Some programs were
relatively short and easy, providing courses in sewing or clothing
assembly over a 1- to 3-month period, and the participants in our
sample who attended these programs graduated.  On the other hand, 4
of the 5 participants in our sample who attended a Job Corps program,
which provided both English language instruction and job training,
dropped out. 

----------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:3.3

Twenty percent of the other Vietnamese comparison group went to
college, and 10 percent went to vocational schools.  The main
difference, however, was that none of the Vietnamese college or
vocational students dropped out.  Two factors might explain this
difference:  The Vietnamese comparison group generally had a better
academic background to handle schoolwork, and they also had better
social support.  More siblings of Amerasians in our samples (44
percent) than Amerasians (23 percent) went to high school because
siblings were younger on average. 

----------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:3.4

The Amerasians in our interview samples generally had fragmented or
disfunctional families and poor educational backgrounds in Vietnam. 
In the United States, both of these disadvantages continued to impede
their progress.  The immigration process fragmented some families
still further because not all family members were able or willing to
resettle in the United States.  The language barrier further
handicapped these Amerasians.  As a result, few of them were able to
take advantage of educational opportunities in this country, while
some of their other Vietnamese counterparts who had both family
support and better educational backgrounds gradually began to excel
and continued their education in college programs. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:4

To determine whether the U.S.  educational achievement of the
Amerasians, siblings of Amerasians, and other Vietnamese in our
interview samples was influenced by their educational background in
Vietnam, we divided our samples into those who came to the United
States with less than a sixth grade education and those who had more
education than this. 

Among Amerasians, the number with less than a sixth grade education
almost matched the number with more, yielding odds of 0.92 (where 1.0
indicates the same odds for each group).  A much greater proportion
of siblings and other Vietnamese than Amerasians had more than a
sixth grade education.  For Amerasians, the odds of having a low
level of education was about 4 times that of siblings and 13 times
that of other Vietnamese.  A low level of education was particularly
common among black Amerasians in our samples, who were 11 times more
likely than their siblings and 39 times more likely than other
Vietnamese to have this low educational level.  (See table III.4.)

                                   Table III.4
                     Odds of Having a Low Level of Education
                           in Vietnam, by Refugee Group

Educational factor               Black     White     Total   Sibling  Vietnamese
----------------------------  --------  --------  --------  --------  ----------
Number with low level of            14        34        48         5           2
 education (0-5th grade)
Number with high level of            5        47        52        20          28
 education (6th grade up)
Odds of having low level of       2.80      0.72       .92      0.25        0.07
Odds ratio
To other Vietnamese\b               39        10        13         4           1
To siblings\c                       11         3         4         1         .28
\a Equals the ratio of "number with low level of education" to
"number with high level of education."

\b Equals the ratio of "odds of having a low level of education" to
0.07, which is the odds of having a low level of education for other

\c Equals the ratio of "odds of having a low level of education" to
0.25, which is the odds of having a low level of education for

One factor that may have influenced educational background was
whether the Vietnamese hometown area was rural or urban.  Some
observers have pointed out that the public education system in
Vietnam is more developed in the urban than in the rural areas of the
country.  Forty-two percent of the black Amerasians in our samples
grew up in rural areas, compared with 31 percent of the white
Amerasians, 20 percent of the siblings, and 17 percent of the other
Vietnamese.  However, even after controlling for hometown location,
the order of educational level (from low to high) was still black
Amerasians, white Amerasians, siblings of Amerasians, and other
Vietnamese.  (See table III.5.) Gender did not influence level of
education in Vietnam. 

                         Table III.5
           Highest Educational Level in Vietnam of
            Different Refugee Groups, by Rural or
                        Urban Hometown

Education in Vietnam        Black  White  Sibling          e
--------------------------  -----  -----  -------  ---------
Rural hometown
0 to 2nd grade                21%     4%       0%         0%
3rd to 5th grade               11     11        8          0
6th to 8th grade                5     15        8          7
9th to 12th grade               5      1        4         10
Some college                    0      0        0          0
Total                         42%    31%      20%        17%
Urban hometown
0 to 2nd grade                 16      9        4          0
3rd to 5th grade               26     19        8          7
6th to 8th grade               16     28       44         20
9th to 12th grade               0     14       16         40
Some college                    0      0        8         17
Total                         58%    69%      80%        83%
Another way to look at the influence that race and hometown location
may have had on education in Vietnam is presented in figure III.1. 
To simplify the analysis, the two comparison groups were combined,
and rural hometown was coded 1, urban 2.  Paths in figure III.1
indicate that being an Amerasian had a strong direct negative
influence on Vietnamese education, in addition to a small indirect
negative influence through hometown location. 

   Figure III.1:  Factors That
   Influenced Education in Vietnam

   (See figure in printed

----------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:4.1

Do Vietnamese hometown location, educational background, and group
membership influence educational achievement in the United States? 
In our analysis, gender was coded 2 for women and 1 for men. 
American education was coded from low to high as follows:  (1) no
schooling, (2) English only, (3) high school, (4) job training, and
(5) college.  Since going to high school or not was determined almost
solely by age, high school students were omitted from the following
analysis.  A path analysis showed that U.S.  educational achievement
was somewhat influenced by group membership, education in Vietnam,
age at arrival (younger people had an advantage), and gender (women
had an advantage).  The group or race factor probably reflects the
fragmented and disfunctional state of Amerasian families in general. 
(See figure III.2.)

   Figure III.2:  Factors That
   Influenced Education in the
   United States

   (See figure in printed

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:5

Our survey of resettlement agencies also clearly showed that
Amerasians have faced educational difficulties in the United States. 
We asked resettlement agency officials to identify the most
significant problems that Amerasians in general experienced in this
country.  Respondents listed low educational level, few or no job
skills, and lack of English skills as the three most important
problems for Amerasians.  The percentages of Amerasians who
experienced these problems according to the agencies were 82, 75, and
72 percent, respectively, as compared with 35, 45, and 48 percent,
respectively, among other Vietnamese whom the agencies have helped to
resettle.  Not surprisingly, respondents also indicated that, with
regard to services that Amerasians should be receiving, increased
educational and vocational training were viewed as most important. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:6

Did the actual educational experience in the United States of the
Amerasians in our interview samples match their stated expectations? 
About half of those who indicated that they expected to learn English
had taken only an English course and had received no other education;
most of those who expected difficulties experienced them and took no
educational courses in the United States.  (See table III.6.) None of
those who expected professional training went to college, only 14
percent received any form of job training, and only 28 percent (8 of
37) of those who expected vocational training entered such a program. 
Furthermore, only 1 percent (one individual) had graduated from
vocational training and was employed in the field of his training. 
This figure is far from the 37 percent who expected successful
vocational training. 

                         Table III.6
           Amerasians' Expected and Actual Highest
           Level of Education in the United States

Expected highest
level of education                   High  Vocationa
in the U.S.         None  English  school   l school   Total
------------------  ----  -------  ------  ---------  ======
No expectation         0        0       1          0       1
No opportunity        11        3       3          1      18
English                8       20       4          4      36
Vocational             6       13      10          8      37
Professional           1        1       5          1       8
Total                 26       37      23         14     100

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:7

There are two questions that arise from these findings:  Are there
opportunities for those who want to succeed, and can those who take
advantage of the opportunities succeed?  Our analysis indicated that
there were some opportunities, though not enough, as demonstrated by
the gap between the 37 percent who anticipated job training and the
14 percent who actually received any form of it.  Programs might have
been available, but many of those Amerasians in our interview samples
who emigrated on their own felt that they needed to contribute
monetarily to their poor families in Vietnam before they could take
time to advance themselves. 

Equally important is the fact that those Amerasians in our samples
who went to school generally did not finish, probably for two
reasons:  (1) lack of preparatory training and (2) lack of motivation
and endurance.  As a result, only one individual had graduated and
used his training.  There were some programs aimed at alleviating the
educational deficit, but they had been discontinued due to a lack of
funding.  Motivation and endurance were strongly reinforced by a
well-functioning family, which the Amerasians in our sample often
lacked.  The influence of both factors, fragmented families and poor
education, were intensified in the United States.  Given these
handicaps, the Amerasians in our sample could not take advantage of
U.S.  higher education and had severe difficulties with the more
comprehensive job training programs.  For those Amerasians in our
interview sample, limited training did not prove fruitful. 

We also asked our Amerasian respondents open-ended questions about
their plans for the future, over the next 1, 3, and 10 years.  The
majority expected that in a year they would return to school to learn
job skills or English, and that such education would enhance their
employment opportunities.  Some also expected that they would be able
to enroll in educational programs in 3 years.  (See table III.7.)
However, in reality, few Amerasians in our samples have gone back to

                         Table III.7
             Future Educational Plans, by Refugee

                            Amerasian\  Sibling\  Vietnamese
Plan to return to school             a         b          \c
--------------------------  ----------  --------  ----------
In 1 year                          57%      100%         55%
In 3 years                          30        36          40
In 10 years                          2         0           0
\a Number = 100. 

\b Number = 25. 

\c Number = 30. 

========================================================== Appendix IV

This appendix addresses the following questions: 

  What has been the U.S.  government's policy toward the employment
     of Amerasians? 

  What expectations did they have of employment and material comfort
     in the United States as compared with Vietnam? 

  What help did the Amerasians receive and what difficulties did they
     encounter in looking for employment? 

  What was the Amerasians' employment status in the United States? 

  To what extent did factors such as educational background and
     family composition influence their employment in the United

The employment situations of the Amerasians and the refugee
comparison groups--that is, siblings of Amerasians, and other
Vietnamese--were similar, so most of our results include all refugees
in our interview sample.  However, when the Amerasians differed from
the comparison groups, these differences are pointed out. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix IV:1

When they were in Vietnam, the majority (58 percent) of Amerasians we
interviewed expected that jobs would be easy to find in the United
States, and almost all (93 percent) expected that their material
comfort would be "adequate" or better in the United States.  (See
table IV.1.)

                          Table IV.1
            Expectations of Job Opportunities and
             Material Comfort in Vietnam and the
               United States, by Refugee Group

                            Amerasian\  Sibling\  Vietnamese
Expectation                          a         b          \c
--------------------------  ----------  --------  ----------
Job opportunities in
No expectation                      4%        8%          0%
Hard to find                        34        36          10
Easy to find                        23        28          47
Family business                     39        28          43
Material comfort in
No expectation                       4         0           0
Poor                                32        28          13
Less than adequate                  20        32          23
Adequate                            39        40          57
Comfortable                          3         0           7
Wealthy                              2         0           0
Job opportunities in the
No expectation                       7         8           0
Hard to find                        35        44          37
Easy to find                        58        48          63
Material comfort in the
No expectation                       4         4           0
Poor                                 1         0           3
Less than adequate                   2         4           0
Adequate                            66        80          37
Comfortable                         21        12          43
Wealthy                              6         0          17
\a Number = 100. 

\b Number = 25. 

\c Number = 30. 

In Vietnam, the family played an important job role.  About 39
percent of our interviewed Amerasians would have expected to work in
a family business had they stayed in Vietnam, so they would have had
no need to find jobs.  Whether they found employment in a family
business or elsewhere, more than half expected that their material
comfort would have been less than adequate in Vietnam.  (See table

                          Table IV.2
             Amerasians' Expectations of Material
              Comfort in Vietnam, by Employment

Expected material         No    Hard    Easy   Family
comfort in         expectati      to      to  busines
Vietnam                   on    find    find        s  Total
-----------------  ---------  ------  ------  -------  =====
No expectation             1       1       2        0      4
Poor                       0      11       4       17     32
Less than                  0       9       6        5     20
Adequate                   3      12      10       14     39
Comfortable                0       0       1        2      3
Wealthy                    0       1       0        1      2
Total                      4      34      23       39    100

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix IV:2

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:2.1

The official U.S.  policy in recent years has been to get refugees
employed as soon as possible.  Early employment is viewed as having
several advantages:  It makes people contributors instead of burdens
on the government, helps to increase their own self-esteem, and
allows them to learn English and other skills on the job.  On the
other hand, some resettlement experts argue that early employment,
especially for those with little education and few job skills, locks
the best adjusted refugees into low-paying jobs that provide very
little in the way of job skill development or advancement, and
relegates the poorly adjusted refugees to government assistance such
as AFDC or, even worse, to gang involvement and homelessness for
those without a safety net.  These experts advocate a greater
investment in education before early employment, arguing that it can
lead to greater success in the long term. 

The State Department requires resettlement agencies to report the
status of refugees, including whether they are employed or in
training and whether they have been referred to social service
providers, 90 days after their arrival in the United States. 
Agencies are eligible for special matching grants to give refugees
more time to locate work and to stay off the regular welfare cash
assistance programs.  In addition to resettlement agencies, there are
contract job developers that locate jobs for refugees. 

Upon arrival in the United States, refugees qualify for government
cash and medical assistance, as well as for other types of assistance
from the resettlement agencies.  Agencies receive a cash stipend from
the Department of State to cover the initial resettlement costs for
each refugee family member.  Agencies use these funds to provide
assistance in different ways.  With respect to housing, some agencies
own apartments and provide them directly to newly arriving families,
while other agencies rent housing units for refugee families.  In
addition, resettlement agencies provide some household furnishings to
families, such as mattresses and cooking utensils that agencies buy
or receive from donors.  Refugees further receive a small amount of
cash (with the exact amount depending on the particular resettlement
agency and the location) for such items as food and bus fare to go to
English language classes.  If there is no immediate job prospect,
refugees are helped to apply for government cash assistance until
they secure a job or reach the maximum assistance limit, whichever
comes first.  The maximum limit for this assistance during 1992 was 8

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:2.2

Those refugees who are too old to attend high school are encouraged
to find employment.  One reason advanced for this policy is that it
would be unfair for refugees to get cash assistance while they attend
college when American citizens cannot do so.  One official argued
that, if refugees want to go to college, they should rely on regular
financial aid programs rather than on refugee cash assistance. 
However, college financial aid normally has to be applied for well in
advance, and thus, in their first year of college, those refugees who
had recently arrived in the United States would have to pay the
higher out-of-state tuition rate.  Some job training programs, on the
other hand, are provided at no cost, and some pay students a small
stipend on which to live.  However, few Amerasians have entered such
job training programs, as we show in appendix III. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix IV:3

We looked at employment status from a number of angles.  First, how
long was the period from the time of arrival to initial employment? 
Second, was the year of arrival related to the ability of the
refugees to obtain a job?  Third, what other factors--such as site,
gender, and group--influenced employment, and to what extent?  One of
our main findings was that single mothers accounted for the majority
of those unemployed, and that Amerasians had a much higher proportion
of single mothers than the comparison groups. 

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:3.1

Using a short-term, stage-state type of analysis, we asked what our
subjects were doing at four different checkpoints after their arrival
in the United States:  2 months, 8 months, 1 year, and 2 years.  We
asked whether they worked, received assistance, went to school, or
relied on family and friends for support.  We wanted to include
individuals from different refugee cohorts in our sample, so we did
not restrict our sample to those who had been in the United States
for at least 2 years.  Thus, the numbers of people at later
checkpoints are smaller than at earlier ones.  Table IV.3 presents
the number of working and nonworking people at each checkpoint. 
(Students, including all of those in high school, have been

                                    Table IV.3
                     Work Status in the United States at Four
                          Checkpoints, by Refugee Group

nt         Number  Percent   Number  Percent   Number  Percent   Number  Percent
--------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------
2 months
Not            53       76        9       69        9       56       71       72
Working        17       24        4       31        7       44       28       28
Total          70      100       13      100       16      100       99      100
8 months
Not            23       35        3       27        2       18       28       32
Working        43       65        8       73        9       82       60       68
Total          66      100       11      100        6      100       88      100
1 year
Not            16       26        4       36        1       17       21       27
Working        45       74        7       64        5       83       57       73
Total          61      100       11      100        6      100       78      100
2 years
Not            11       31        3       33        2       40       16       33
Working        24       69        6       67        3       60       33       67
Total          35      100        9      100        5      100       49      100
Note:  Students, including all of those in high school, have been

The employment rate among interviewed Amerasians increased from 24
percent at 2 months to 65 percent at 8 months, to 74 percent at 1
year, and finally to 69 percent at 2 years.  Thus, the employment
rate started to stabilize somewhere between the second and the eighth
month.  (One resettlement worker in our resettlement agency survey
stated that employment status was basically determined by the third
month after arrival in the United States.)

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:3.2

Generally, the respondents in our interview sample who were employed
tended to have low-paying, entry-level jobs.  These jobs covered a
broad spectrum, such as assembly line work in factories, housekeeping
work in the hotel industry, dishwashing in restaurants, and other
service-sector work.  The respondents reported learning some skills
on the job; however, they were offered little formal training. 

Refugees in our sample reported no promotions, although their
salaries had increased over the course of time.  The average starting
hourly wage for a first job was $5.71, and the current or end wage of
a first job was $6.54.  The increase appears small because some
respondents had not been employed long.  For those refugees who had
worked for 2 years or more, the wage increase was larger. 

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:3.3

There was a wide gender gap in our interview sample with regard to
employment.  Amerasian men's employment rate increased steadily from
37 percent at 2 months to 72 percent at 8 months, and to 85 percent
at the 1- and 2-year points--compared with Amerasian women's rates at
corresponding checkpoints of 9, 57, 59, and 47 percent.  (See table
IV.4.) One important gender difference was that 24 women (versus only
11 men) had children, and child care considerations may have deterred
some women from seeking work. 

                          Table IV.4
            Amerasians' Work Status in the United
            States at Four Checkpoints, by Gender

Work status at
checkpoint              Number   Percent    Number   Percent
--------------------  --------  --------  --------  --------
2 months
Not working                 24        63        29        91
Working                     14        37         3         9
8 months
Not working                 10        28        13        43
Working                     26        72        17        57
1 year
Not working                  5        15        11        41
Working                     29        85        16        59
2 years
Not working                  3        15         8        53
Working                     17        85         7        47

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:3.4

Given that the Amerasians who were employed tended to find jobs
relatively soon after arrival in the United States (between the
second and eighth month), we attempted to determine whether cohort
differences (based on time of arrival in the United States) were
apparent.  Those Amerasians who arrived earlier naturally were
younger.  (The correlation between Amerasians' year of arrival and
age at arrival is 0.53.) Those Amerasians who arrived at the age of
18 or younger were enrolled in school, and thus were not employed
(and we therefore excluded these individuals from our analysis of
employment status).  Although some resettlement agency officials have
speculated that more recently arrived Amerasians were more
disadvantaged because they more often came from rural areas in
Vietnam and thus had less education and fewer resources (which in
turn could adversely influence employment), we did not find a
relationship between arrival year and education in Vietnam (r =
-0.09; p = 0.35). 

Actually, there is partial evidence that the employment rate was
higher within the more recently arrived cohorts, with the exception
of those refugees who had been here less than 8 months and thus had
not yet found employment.  As shown in table IV.5, 9 out of 15 (60
percent) of those refugees who had arrived in the United States in
1989 were not employed at the time when we interviewed them, as
compared with 15 of 36 (42 percent) and 8 of 30 (27 percent) not
employed among those who arrived in 1990 and 1991.  One factor that
may account for this difference was the decline in the number of
months Refugee Cash Assistance was available, which increased
pressure on refugees to find employment early. 

                          Table IV.5
             Amerasians' Work Status at Different
             Checkpoints, by Year of U.S. Arrival

Work status at checkpoint        r  1990  1991  1992   Total
--------------------------  ------  ----  ----  ----  ======
2 months
Not working                     13    28    26     5      72
Working                          2     8     4     3      17
Total                           15    36    30     8      89
8 months
Not working                     12    17    10     2      41
Working                          3    19    20     2      44
Total                           15    36    30     4      85
1 year
Not working                     10    14     5            29
Working                          5    22    23            50
Total                           15    36    28            79
2 years
Not working                      9    13     1            23
Working                          6    20     1            27
Total                           15    33     2            50
Present work status
Not working                      9    15     8     4      36
Working                          6    21    22     4      53
Total                           15    36    30     8      89
Note:  Current high school students were excluded. 

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:3.5

Another factor affecting work status that is concurrent with
employment status and probably stronger is the family composition of
Amerasians.  The earlier Amerasian women came to the United States,
and the longer they lived here, the more likely they were to be
single mothers.  The percentage of single mothers increased from 38
to 47 and then to 67 percent for those women who arrived in 1991,
1990, and 1989 or earlier.  Up to 48 percent of Amerasian women were
on Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC), compared with 23
percent of siblings and only 6 percent of other Vietnamese.  The rate
of Amerasian women receiving AFDC in 1992 increased with their length
of residence in the United States.  Their overall rate of AFDC
reception in 1992 was 22 of 46, as compared with 3 of 13 among
siblings and only 1 of 18 among other Vietnamese.  (See table IV.6.)

                          Table IV.6
           Number of Amerasian Women Receiving AFDC
               in 1992, by Year of U.S. Arrival

Receiving AFDC in 1992           r  1990  1991  1992   Total
--------------------------  ------  ----  ----  ----  ======
No                               4     8     8     3      24
Yes                              8     9     5     1      22
Total                           12    17    13     4      46

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:3.6

Most initial jobs for Amerasians did not require English language
skills (80 percent), education (87 percent), or prior work experience
(81 percent).  (See table IV.7.) As a result, refugees with less
education were not necessarily at a disadvantage.  (See table IV.8.)

                                    Table IV.7
                      Requirements for First Jobs Secured by

required   Number  Percent   Number  Percent   Number  Percent   Number  Percent
--------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------
No             41       80        9       90        9       69       59       80
Yes            10       20        1       10        4       31       15       20
No             39       81        8       80        3       33       50       75
Yes             9       19        2       20        6       67       17       25
No             40       87       10      100        8       89       58       89
Yes             6       13        0        0        1       11        7       11

                          Table IV.8
            Amerasians' Work Status, by Vietnamese
                    Educational Background

                                      0 to 5th
Work status at checkpoint                grade  6th grade up
--------------------------------  ------------  ------------
2 months
Not working                                 36            36
Working                                      7            10
8 months
Not working                                 20            21
Working                                     21            23
1 year
Not working                                 17            12
Working                                     19            31
2 years
Not working                                 12            11
Working                                     13            14
Present work status
Not working                                 21            15
Working                                     22            31
Note:  Current high school students were excluded. 

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:3.7

When all interviewees were included in the analysis, black Amerasians
consistently had the highest employment rate at all checkpoints. 
(See table IV.9.) The two comparison groups--siblings and other
Vietnamese--had lower employment rates.  However, when students were
excluded (as in table IV.3), the rates of all groups were comparable. 
We used a fairly strict definition of student--namely, that the
individual must have been in the United States for at least 8 months
and must have been in school at all of the possible checkpoints--that
is, if an individual had been in the country for less than 1 year,
then the 1-year and 2-year checkpoints were not possible.  Many of
the students were still in high school.  A number of the "other
Vietnamese" students were attending college and thus potentially had
the best long-term employment prospects. 

                                    Table IV.9
                          Work Status, By Refugee Group

nt         Number  Percent   Number  Percent   Number  Percent   Number  Percent
--------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------  -------
2 months
Not            14       74       69       85       20       80       23       77
Working         5       26       12       15        5       20        7       23
8 months
Not             6       33       45       58       13       59       12       50
Working        12       67       33       42        9       41       12       50
1 year
Not             5       29       32       44       14       67       10       59
Working        12       71       40       56        7       33        7       41
2 years
Not             4       40       27       54        7       50        9       69
Working         6       60       23       46        7       50        4       31
Not             8       42       36       44       16       64       17       57
Working        11       58       45       56        9       36       13       43

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:3.8

Philadelphia has had a low employment rate compared with Washington,
D.C., in recent years.  In fact, in 1991, the State Department
discouraged the national resettlement agencies from sending refugees
to Philadelphia because of the high unemployment rate among refugees
there.  Among the refugees in our sample, those living in
Philadelphia had lower employment rates at the three later
checkpoints (8 months, 1 year, and 2 years after arrival) than those
living in Washington, D.C., and Souderton, Pennsylvania.  (See table
IV.10.) However, when students were excluded, the results were
somewhat different, with Philadelphia still having a lower refugee
employment rate at the 8-month and 1-year checkpoints but a slightly
higher rate at the 2-year point than that for Washington, D.C.  (See
table IV.11.)

                         Table IV.10
              Work Status, by Refugee's City of

Work status
at                    Percen          Percen          Percen
checkpoint    Number       t  Number       t  Number       t
------------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------
2 months
Not working       49      96      15      71      62      75
Working            2       4       6      29      21      25
8 months
Not working       20      40       9      45      47      65
Working           30      60      11      55      25      35
1 year
Not working       16      35       6      32      39      63
Working           30      65      13      68      23      37
2 years
Not working       10      45       6      40      31      62
Working           12      55       9      60      19      38
Present work
Not working       20      39       8      38      49      59
Working           31      61      13      62      34      41
Note:  Includes all three interview samples. 

                         Table IV.11
               Work Status by Refugee's City of
              Residence, After All Students Were

Work status
at                    Percen          Percen          Percen
checkpoint    Number       t  Number       t  Number       t
------------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------
2 months
Not working       42      95      10      63      29      59
Working            2       5       6      38      20      41
8 months
Not working       16      37       4      27      16      41
Working           27      63      11      73      23      59
1 year
Not working       12      30       2      14      13      39
Working           28      70      12      86      20      61
2 years
Not working        8      42       2      20      10      37
Working           11      58       8      80      17      63
Present work
Not working       16      36       4      25      20      41
Working           28      64      12      75      29      59
Note:  Includes all three interview samples; all students (including
all high school students) were excluded. 

Souderton, a suburb of Philadelphia, was a special case because most
refugees were not initially resettled there; instead, they went there
later to seek employment.  Furthermore, even though Washington, D.C.,
had the same employment ratio as the other sites, it was still doing
relatively better in view of the high ratio of women among its
refugees (59 percent), since women in our samples had a lower overall
employment rate. 

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix IV:3.9

An overall work score was constructed by adding the work scores (1 =
working; 0 = not working) at the first three checking points.  High
school students were excluded from the analysis.  Though Amerasians
had a distinct disadvantage in education in Vietnam, they did not lag
behind in U.S.  employment.  Women had lower work scores and also
were less likely to move to better worksites, such as Souderton. 
(See figure IV.1.) Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia were not very
different in work scores after adjusting for high school students. 

   Figure IV.1:  Factors Affecting
   Work Status in the United

   (See figure in printed

In summary, more men than women worked, and those refugees who moved
to better work sites had a higher rate of employment.  Probably just
as important was the large effect of extraneous variables (0.93)
which probably means that most people worked at a wide array of
entry-level jobs (so no factor made much difference).  Another factor
of concern was that employment rates among women decreased after the
first year, mainly due to the effect of single motherhood. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix IV:4

Are working Amerasians happier than nonworking ones according to the
previously set forth hypothesis of self-sufficiency?  Since happiness
is an elusive but important construct, we used several measures to
characterize it, as well as asked interviewees to report whether they
were happy and why, using a simple face scale.  (See figure IV.2.)
They were also asked whether they preferred the United States or
Vietnam, and whether they were satisfied with leaving Vietnam and
coming to the United States.  Finally, our interviewees also took a
depression test (using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies'
Depression Scale) and a self-esteem test. 

   Figure IV.2:  The Face Test

   (See figure in printed

   Note:  The faces express
   various feelings.  Below each
   is a letter.  The Amerasian was
   asked to choose the face that
   came closest to expressing his
   or her feelings about his or
   her life in Vietnam, in the
   PRPC, and in the United States.

   (See figure in printed

   Source:  F.M.  Andrews and S.B. 
   Withey, Social Indicators of
   Well-Being:  Americans'
   Perceptions of Life Quality
   (New York:  Plenum, 1976).

   (See figure in printed

The analysis was restricted to people not currently in high school. 
There seemed to be no difference in happiness or preference for the
United States between those who were working and those who were not,
except for a low but significant correlation (r = 0.23; p = 0.02)
between working status and low depression.  There was no correlation
between work and self-esteem. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix IV:5

Although resettlement agency respondents in our survey identified
"few or no job skills" as one of the three most important problems
that Amerasians face (reporting that 75 percent of Amerasians
experienced this problem), they did not consider lack of job
opportunities to be as serious a problem for Amerasians (reporting
that 29 percent of Amerasians experienced this problem). 

Agency respondents also indicated that Amerasians have been fairly
successful in gaining employment.  We first asked agency respondents
to estimate the percentage of all the Amerasians they had resettled
in the past 2 years whom they knew well enough to assess in terms of
self-sufficiency.  Respondents reported that they knew approximately
two thirds of the Amerasians they had resettled well enough to assess
their self-sufficiency status.  We then asked respondents to estimate
the percentage of these Amerasians who were employed (either full- or
part-time) or on public assistance after 1 and 2 years in the United
States.  Agency officials indicated that 76 percent and 81 percent,
respectively, of the Amerasians were employed after 1 and 2 years in
this country.  However, most of those who were employed had jobs with
low skill requirements; relatively few (5 percent in 1991 and 8
percent in 1992) had semiprofessional jobs or better. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix IV:6

Lack of education did not hinder refugees from securing entry-level
jobs requiring no English, education, or experience.  Most refugees
in our interview sample planned to go to school during the next
several years; however, in reality, most working people did not go
back to school and thus did not climb beyond the entry level.  Salary
increased over time for persistent workers.  The employment rate also
increased among the more recently arrived. 

In Vietnam, the family was a primary job provider.  In the United
States, children in single-mother families were a primary barrier to
employment.  Amerasian women were much more likely than their peers
to enter into the single-mother status, in this way resembling their
own mothers.  (See appendix VI on the family.)

=========================================================== Appendix V

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix V:1

How do Amerasian families pay their housing costs?  The sponsoring
agency pays the first month's rent after their arrival in the United
States, or a volunteer puts them up in his or her own quarters.  The
following month, Amerasian families start to pay for their own
housing, regardless of whether they have jobs at this point.  For
many families, most of the cash assistance they receive goes into
housing costs.  Often, several families share one apartment.  Even
when sharing living quarters, our interviewees in the Washington,
D.C., area paid an average of $445 per month per family for housing. 
(See table V.1.)

                          Table V.1
            Housing Costs for Refugee Families and
              Individuals, by City of Residence

                          Mean   Minimum   Maximum    Number
----------------------  ------  --------  --------  --------
Washington, D.C.
Family                    $445      $150      $752        30
Individual                 199         0       350        18
Souderton, Pa.
Family                     609       200       850        11
Individual                 210       100       300         5
Philadelphia, Pa.
Family                     300        75       550        36
Individual                 221        50       400        12
To minimize housing costs, Amerasian families usually settled in the
poorest neighborhoods.  An interviewer saw evidence of rodent and
roach infestation in the kitchens of several units, and in most
units, roach infestation was evident even during the day.  In
addition, Amerasian families still lived in crowded conditions.  For
example, an average of five people in the families of our Amerasian
interviewees shared one bathroom. 

The housing costs of the Amerasian families we interviewed depended
on two factors:  where they lived and what their income level was. 
In Souderton, Pennsylvania, an apartment rented for over $500 per
month, but incomes were higher and a number of Amerasians had
relocated there to obtain jobs in the meatpacking and poultry
processing industries.  In Philadelphia, the average housing cost was
about $400 to $450 per month in the poor neighborhood where many
Amerasians had resettled.  However, the average housing cost per
family in Philadelphia was only about $300 per month because many
families shared housing. 

When refugees earned more, they tended to want to move to better and
safer neighborhoods.  Some of the Amerasian families had even bought
their own houses.  On the other hand, due to the large concentration
of Vietnamese in the first area of resettlement, some families wanted
to stay there, although under less crowded conditions.  Many lived in
"little Saigons" and thus did not learn English. 

The advantage to Amerasians of staying in concentrated Vietnamese
neighborhoods is the social contacts these locales assure.  Some,
like Souderton, feature organized, healthy recreational facilities
where Amerasians can develop discipline, teamwork, a sense of
community, and leadership in sports such as soccer.  However, most
urban places where Vietnamese refugees have congregated do not have
such facilities, so Amerasians can be attracted to gangs, alcohol
abuse, and sometimes high-stake card games. 

Some resettlement agencies are studying levels of gang involvement
among Amerasians.  Some other agencies have suggested that, to avoid
the problem of gang involvement, Amerasians should not be sent to big
cities where there are many Vietnamese.  However, one advantage of
areas of concentrated Vietnamese population is that service agencies
are sometimes able to hire a worker who can speak the language,
something which is difficult to do where the population is small. 

Our survey of resettlement agencies also showed the differences in
housing costs encountered by refugees in U.S.  cities of different
size.  Agencies that resettled Amerasians in cities with populations
of less than 100,000 reported that an average of 17 percent of the
Amerasians experienced problems finding affordable housing; whereas
in cities with populations of more than 500,000 inhabitants, 37
percent experienced this problem.  Amerasians resettling in smaller
cities also had fewer problems involving transportation, crime
victimization, and integration into the Vietnamese as well as the
larger American community; however, they may have had more problems
with discrimination in the smaller American community.  It is likely
that people in smaller cities are more aware of Amerasians' presence
and react more to them, resulting in higher levels of both
integration and discrimination in the American community, as compared
with the Amerasian experience in larger cities. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix V:2

Amerasians generally received comprehensive health care at every
stage of their migration to the United States.  They started in
Vietnam with health screening and, if necessary, treatment of
communicable diseases.  The PRPC screened and treated them again. 
Upon arrival in the United States, they went through another
screening and possible course of treatment.  However, in the United
States, even when health care was theoretically available, lack of
information, English language skills, and transportation often made
it practically inaccessible.  For example, an Amerasian in our sample
who was contacted by the local clinic to bring her two children in
for free immunization failed to do so because she did not realize the
importance of immunization and did not have transportation to the

When Amerasians did seek out health care, they were sometimes
frightened away by parts of the system.  The stepfather of the
Amerasian just mentioned had lost an eye and had poor sight in the
other.  He went to a doctor to obtain evidence of his disability. 
One doctor referred him to another, so he accumulated bills without
securing any conclusive evidence of his disability.  Another
Amerasian received repeated billings from a hospital for his first
child's birth even after he had provided information several times to
process Medicaid papers.  He was frightened by the billing and stated
that, in the future, he would avoid seeking American medical care as
much as possible.  Resettlement agencies cannot help all their
clients with such problems, especially those people who move to
another city.  We found that the agencies often were too busy dealing
with more recent refugees, or (in the case of a number of agencies)
clients did not know how to contact the agency office or workers. 

If physical health care was difficult to access, mental health care
was even more difficult to secure.  The unmet need most commonly
cited by resettlement agencies (33 percent) was that for mental
health and counseling services.  Resettlement workers cited high
levels of sexual activity, low levels of marital bonding, conflicts
within families, and violent means of resolving conflicts, as aspects
of family disfunctioning that called for mental health counseling. 
However, there are few professional mental health workers who speak
Vietnamese, while most Amerasians do not know enough English to work
with American counselors.  In addition, for cultural reasons, Asians
are generally not open to psychotherapy. 

Their lack of education and, according to a local resettlement
director, their high level of sexual activity increased Amerasians'
exposure to AIDS.  Unable to communicate in English, Amerasians seek
out Vietnamese doctors.  However, since there are not enough
Vietnamese doctors who are specialists, the medical services
Amerasians received were sometimes restricted to those offered by
general practitioners.  The Amerasians we interviewed also ran into
various culturally determined difficulties in the United States, such
as the keeping of appointments (a concept that is applied more
loosely in Vietnam). 

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix V:3

Our interview sample of 100 Amerasians credited resettlement agencies
with supplying many types of essential help, including

  furniture (63),

  food (46),

  kitchen utensils (67),

  encouragement (65),

  finding schools (68),

  interpreter services (61), and

  counseling (51). 

Overall, our Amerasian interviewees rated the resettlement agencies
as follows: 

  very good (13),

  good (49),

  okay (26),

  bad (5),

  very bad (4), and

  no opinion (3). 

We visited one large resettlement agency--IRC in Washington,
D.C.--and found that it had a generous open-door policy, that many
people came there for help, and that the Vietnamese caseworker was
very knowledgeable about the cases and was much respected by the
refugees.  Nine Amerasians complained about their resettlement
agencies, primarily that they were given some cash (about $220 per
person) but no contacts or services.  We did not design the study to
examine resettlement agencies' performance; however, it appeared to
us that several of the dissatisfied Amerasians were resettled by the
same agency. 

For various reasons, there is a high rate of turnover among social
workers at resettlement agencies.  Salaries are often very low. 
Contract renewals can be uncertain.  Paperwork can be complicated,
especially in cases where grants have been divided among different
programs (causing agencies to apply for numerous grants).  Some
workers told us that the paperwork might be justified in theory but
was just a burden in practice, and that complying with it did not
always help their Amerasian clients. 

One particular example of this paperwork problem was the requirement
of a resettlement plan for each refugee.  In view of the large number
of refugees, the agency's lack of knowledge about them, and their
uncertain job opportunities, it was difficult to develop a
resettlement plan with a refugee at the start.  Conversely, adherence
to such a plan can irritate the refugee.  One refugee recounted that
he told the social worker:  "You keep telling me that I should try to
be self-sufficient as soon as I can, but you cannot find me a job,
you cannot provide the information I need about schooling--Does
self-sufficient mean not being able to rely on workers like you?"

Confronted with situations like these, resettlement agency workers
tend to move to more stable, less stressful jobs, and the refugee
community thus loses the services of experienced workers.  Even at
agencies where there are Vietnamese-speaking workers, their caseloads
are often too heavy for them to counsel people effectively.  Due to
the resultant lack of counseling support, crises among refugees tend
to increase, and dealing with crises such as suicide and child abuse
in turn consumes more of the workers' time. 

========================================================== Appendix VI

Appendixes III, IV, and V have pointed to the importance of family in
Vietnamese culture.  In this appendix, in order to present the
Amerasian family in the context of Vietnamese culture, we address the
following questions: 

  Were Amerasians discriminated against in Vietnam?  If so, in what
     way, and how did they react?  How well did Amerasians relate to
     neighbors in Vietnam and in the United States, in relation to
     the comparison groups? 

  How close are Amerasians to those in their nuclear families,
     particularly their mothers, in relation to the comparison
     groups?  Do they think about their fathers? 

  How do Amerasians identify themselves, and which culture--American
     or Vietnamese--do they identify with? 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix VI:1

About 71 percent of the Amerasians in our interview sample reported
being discriminated against in Vietnam.  Some half-siblings (24
percent), who were not themselves Amerasians, also experienced this
discrimination.  About 7 percent of the "other Vietnamese" group also
reported being targeted for discrimination by the Communist
government because their families had worked for the previous regime. 
In comparison, only 19 percent of Amerasians (versus 17 percent of
the other two groups) reported being discriminated against in the
United States. 

Discrimination against the young Amerasians in our sample took
different forms.  In the area of education, one individual reported
having difficulty in gaining admission to school.  Another
interviewee reported negative attitudes on the part of teachers.  A
third individual pointed out that passing or failing depended more on
identity than academic performance.  Offensive teasing on the part of
peers was a common phenomenon. 

Amerasians often reacted to this discrimination by fighting (which
often led to disciplinary sanctions, including expulsion from
school), withdrawal, dropping out, or moving to new homes in economic
zones in remote areas of the country.  Some Amerasians told us that
they accepted as fact the contention that Amerasians were simply not
good students.  Thus, discrimination was a major contributing factor
to low educational achievement among Amerasians in Vietnam. 

Not everyone in Vietnam discriminated against Amerasians.  Only 13
percent of the Amerasians in our sample expected that their neighbors
in Vietnam would have treated them badly had they stayed in Vietnam. 
However, by comparison, only 3 percent expected such poor treatment
in the United States. 

With this discrimination in mind, HHS's Office of Refugee
Resettlement (ORR) anticipated that Amerasians would not normally be
given full membership in their Vietnamese communities in the United
States.  Consequently, in early 1988, ORR consulted with the State
Department, voluntary agencies, state governments, Vietnamese ethnic
organizations, local resettlement agencies, and one Amerasian to plan
for effective resettlement.  Following their recommendations, ORR
established 55 Amerasian resettlement clusters to instill a sense of
community through orientation to American culture, recreational
activities, and Vietnamese festival parties.  These clusters also
allow a targeting of federal funds, through an ORR Cooperative
Agreement with InterAction, to enhance resettlement services.  In
addition, a point of contact was established at Lutheran Immigration
and Refugee Service (LIRS) to receive questions and to disseminate
information on effective resettlement strategies. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix VI:2

Although Amerasians rarely locate their American fathers, most
Amerasians think of them often.  According to a recent study that
surveyed a random sample consisting of 169 Amerasians in 10 cluster
sites, almost one fifth (19 percent) "always" thought about their
biological fathers, another fifth (21) percent) "frequently" did, and
another fifth (23 percent) "sometimes" did.\1 However, the actual
parental care responsibilities resided with the mothers in both
Vietnam and the United States. 

\1 Conversation with Dr.  Fred Bemak of Johns Hopkins University
concerning his as yet unpublished study. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix VI:3

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix VI:3.1

Mothers play a central role in Amerasians' lives.  In answering the
open-ended question, "Whom did you first grow up with?", 74 percent
of the Amerasians in our interview sample simply stated "mother"
(compared with 42 percent of siblings and 32 percent of other
Vietnamese, who more often identified "parents" in response to this
question).  Characteristics of the Amerasians' mothers, as described
in the RDC data set, are summarized in the following paragraph. 

Their median age was about 49 years.  With regard to marital status,
40 percent were married, 36 percent single, and 14 percent widowed. 
Regarding education, 13 percent had attended no school in Vietnam, 69
percent some primary school, 10 percent secondary school, and only
0.3 percent college or technical school.  According to a brief test
conducted in PRPC, 11 percent could not read or write any language,
52 percent knew Vietnamese only, and 22 percent knew a little

Added to their low educational achievement was the low-skilled nature
of the jobs that the mothers of Amerasians held in Vietnam.  The
majority were in sales (28 percent), domestic and other services (35
percent), and farming (10 percent). 

Of the 14,892 Amerasian cases reported in the RDC data set, only
about a third included biological mothers.  About half of the cases
with mothers included only two or three people (typically, the
Amerasian, his or her mother, and a sibling). 

------------------------------------------------------ Appendix VI:3.2

Amerasians reported that they were very close (50 percent) or close
(22 percent) to their mothers, although some reported that they were
not too close (12 percent) or experienced friction often (4 percent). 
One Amerasian who rated the relationship with his mother as "not too
close" tried to choke his mother to death once and told the
interviewer that he might attempt it again because of her
relationship with her boyfriend.  The same Amerasian, however, said
that his greatest hope was to save enough money for his mother to
visit Vietnam, according to her wish.  This pattern of conflict and
fusion is that classified as "enmeshment" by family therapy theory.\2

The sibling groups reported the same level of closeness to their
mothers, but the other Vietnamese group reported more closeness (t =
3.4; p = 0.001).  Furthermore, 12 percent of Amerasians reported that
they did not know their mothers well enough. 

One example of a "friction often" case was intense.  One evening this
Amerasian caught his mother in bed with a black American boyfriend. 
He got a knife from the kitchen and chased the naked man out of the
apartment building.  His mother hired another Amerasian to beat her
son in front of her, and then threw him out of her apartment.  Two
other Amerasians then noticed that she was alone in her apartment and
forced her to let them stay there.  At this point, she recalled her
Amerasian son to throw the other two out. 

Of course, there are also cases at the other extreme, in which the
Amerasian children were very loyal to their mothers as prescribed by
traditional Vietnamese social norms.  In one case exhibiting family
harmony, the mother was married to a Vietnamese man and had one
child.  In the evening, people from her village often slept at a
church in town for safety.  One evening when her husband remained
behind, the village was raided, and he was killed.  She did not know
which side killed him.  To earn a living, she began working at an
American base.  Returning from work one day, she found her house
burned and her burned child removed to the hospital at the American
base.  The American soldier who drove her every day to visit her
child in the hospital fathered her next child.  When leaving Vietnam,
he asked her to accompany him.  She refused.  He then asked a close
American friend to take care of her, and this man fathered her third

After the American withdrawal, her family was extremely poor.  The
second child tended the flock for a family in a different village at
all hours of the day and in all kinds of weather.  He later went to
town and apprenticed at a car body shop.  His two brothers would go
to the woods to gather branches and then carry them 10 miles to sell
in the market and thus make a meager income.  Their relatives
rejected them because they brought shame to the extended family. 

After the Amerasian Homecoming Act was passed, people offered to
purchase one of the two Amerasians from their mother, but she refused
to part with either of them, afraid that she would not be able to
find them in the United States.  She and her sons subsequently
applied to be resettled.  When interviewed for departure from
Vietnam, the oldest son, by then married and the father of a child,
stated that he was single so that he could stay with his mother and
brothers.  In the Philippines Refugee Processing Center (PRPC), the
youngest son went to school for the first time, to learn English.  He
also went to evening class, taught by fellow refugees, to learn
Vietnamese.  The oldest son had had more education in Vietnam but
feigned ignorance so that he would be placed in the lowest class with
his youngest brother (in order to help him). 

Upon arrival in the Unite States, the youngest son continued to learn
Vietnamese by reading local Vietnamese magazines aloud, a word at a
time.  All four members of the family also went to English language
classes--again with the oldest and the youngest sons in the lowest
level so that the one could help the other.  The second son briefly
enrolled in a job training program, but dropped out after a few days
because it was far from home and because he had only had a year of
education in Vietnam.  All three boys worked the evening shift for a
janitorial company, and two of the three also held second jobs. 
Their combined income was over $2,000 per month.  All three gave
their paychecks to their mother. 

On the strength of this large income, they asked the other two
families who lived with them in a two-bedroom apartment to move out. 
They bought a car.  The mother continued to attend two different
English language programs in the hope of one day being able to read
street signs.  She was very proud of the way her children stayed
together, stating that she felt like "a queen." A year after arrival,
the youngest son got married and subsequently brought his Vietnamese
bride home to live with his family.  The oldest son continued to send
money to Vietnam to support his wife and child.  He had inquired
about bringing them to the United States, but he felt that he also
must keep his relationship to them a secret--afraid that he himself
would be deported because he had lied to the Immigration and
Naturalization Service about his marital status. 

\2 See Michael P.  Nichols and Richard C.  Schwartz, Family Therapy: 
Concepts and Methods, 2nd ed.  (Boston:  Allyn and Bacon, 1991). 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix VI:4

We approached the issue of Amerasians' identity from three
perspectives--focusing particularly on the question of whether they
identified more with Vietnamese or American culture.  First, we asked
the Amerasians in our sample what they thought of themselves. 
Second, we looked at their responses on Caplan's value scales.\3
Third, we considered their daily activities. 

When asked directly, "Do you think of yourself as Vietnamese,
American, or other?"--44 percent chose Vietnamese, 5 percent
American, and a significant 50 percent "other" (namely, Amerasian). 
In addition, these Amerasians were very similar to the Vietnamese,
according to their value statements.  Overall, the orders of the
values rated by Amerasians and by other Vietnamese were very similar. 
Among the values highly rated by both groups were "not forgetting
roots," "respecting elders," "education," "tight family," and "warm
and peaceful family." Amerasians even ranked "preserve traditional
Vietnamese customs" higher than the other Vietnamese group.  Among
the lowest rated values for both groups were "finding enjoyment,"
"material desire," and "balance between work and play."

Concerning daily activities, Amerasians associated primarily with
other Amerasians and Vietnamese.  They were more likely to watch
Vietnamese TV than the Vietnamese (63 versus 40 percent) and less
likely to watch American TV (64 versus 90 percent).  In addition,
more Amerasians than Vietnamese reported that their favorite pastime
was to chat with other Vietnamese (47 versus 17 percent).  Vietnamese
reported that they attempted to chat with Americans, trying to
insinuate themselves into the American culture.  Conversely,
Amerasians tended to be more exclusive in their preference for
Vietnamese culture. 

However, we also found that Amerasians continued to be rejected by
many of the Vietnamese living in the United States.  One Vietnamese
individual even approached one of our evaluators and asked whether
there was a way to stop Amerasians from coming to the United
States--because they disturbed the Vietnamese community here and
presented a bad image to the American public.  Voluntary agencies
reported that about 33 percent of Amerasians had experienced
discrimination in the American Vietnamese community.  In addition,
one black Amerasian reported that white Amerasians looked down upon
black Amerasians. 

\3 Nathan Caplan et al., Boat People and Achievement in America:  A
Study of Family Life, Hard Work, and Cultural Values (Ann Arbor,
Mich.:  University of Michigan Press, 1989). 

-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix VI:5

The different sections of our report have delineated Amerasians'
difficulties in many areas of life, both in Vietnam and in the United
States.  First, they were rejected in Vietnam.  Then, in the United
States, Amerasians have identified with Vietnamese culture, only to
be rejected anew by the Vietnamese.  Fitting in neither world, they
remain "Amerasian"--that is, somewhat different from everyone else. 

The purpose of the Amerasian Homecoming Act was to help these
Amerasians.  Yet the very process of moving to the United States
separated them from family members they love and from the only
language and culture they know.  They expected to learn a new
language and a trade, and most acquired neither.  An alarming number
of Amerasian women have become single mothers just as their mothers

These Amerasians were brought to the United States too late to grow
up American and thereby become mainstream Americans.  Various efforts
have been made to help them, including those of the PRPC and the
resettlement agencies, and additional aid has been extended through
federal cash and medical assistance programs.  However, reductions in
funding levels have reduced the effectiveness of each effort.  The
PRPC has a highly professional American administrative staff, but it
teaches English and American culture in a Vietnamese-speaking camp on
Filipino soil with Filipino-accent teachers.  The program's clients
would be better served if the program were relocated to the United
States, although the cost would be much greater.  The resettlement
agencies, many with Vietnamese workers, provided important initial
help, but recently their budgets have shrunk at the same time that
the number of refugees arriving for resettlement has swollen.  The
period of eligibility for federal cash and medical assistance has
been gradually reduced from 3 years to 8 months, with the possibility
of even more reductions in the future. 

Many resettled Amerasians gravitated to the poorest ghettos of
America and lacked the English language skills to communicate with
people around them, as well as the information necessary to take
advantage of the resources available to them.  Housing costs forced
them into residences that were crowded and impermanent.  Some of
these Amerasians did not have their real families with them.  All
were cut off from the environment they grew up in that, although
often unfriendly to them, at least was familiar and one where they
had some ties.  They were eager to work in the United States but had
few skills, and those who had skills could not always use them. 

Overall, did the program to resettle Amerasians in the United States
help or hurt them?  We asked Amerasians to answer this question
themselves, again from a number of angles: 

  whether they were happy or sad in Vietnam;

  whether they were happy or sad in the United States;

  what they liked or disliked about each place;

  whether they were happy about leaving Vietnam; and finally,

  whether they were happy about coming to the United States. 

We also used established scales to measure the Amerasians'
self-esteem, cultural estrangement, and depression.  (One reason
multiple questions were used is that Vietnamese tend to value the
complexity of contradictory answers more than consistency among

The overall results revealed a hardy group.  Amerasians managed to
survive under difficult conditions, both in Vietnam and in the United
States.  Sixty-three percent of the Amerasians we surveyed stated
that they were happy in this country, compared with 20 percent who
said that they were unhappy.  This happiness reflected their
psychological resilience and hardiness because, even when they
suffered hardship in Vietnam, 48 percent stated that they were happy
in Vietnam.  A strongly positive correlation between happiness scores
in the two places (Vietnam and the United States) would indicate that
happiness is generalized and not dependent on factors such as
environment.  A strongly negative correlation might indicate that
environment explains much of the happiness variable.  The correlation
in our sample was weak:  r = -0.19; p = 0.06.  Thus, both generalized
hardiness and environmental improvement probably were contributing

What did the Amerasians like and dislike most about Vietnam and the
United States?  They saw Vietnam and the United States as somewhat
opposite, so what they liked about the one country reflected what
they didn't like about the other.  For example, they preferred the
personal and family relationships in Vietnam, which they regarded as
more affectionate; they also missed the language, food, and climate
of Vietnam.  Similarly, what they liked about the United States
mirrored what they did not like about Vietnam:  the work
opportunities, the freedom, the reduced discrimination, and the
educational opportunities.  Overall, 77 percent of Amerasians said
that they were happy about leaving Vietnam, and 87 percent were happy
about coming to the United States.  (See table VI.1.)

                          Table VI.1
             What Respondents Liked and Disliked
             About Vietnam and the United States

Response                     Amerasian   Sibling  Vietnamese
--------------------------  ----------  --------  ----------
What respondents liked
 about Vietnam
Family, relationships              68%       72%         74%
Language, culture,                  20        18          17
 climate, food
Work, job, wealth                    3         0           4
"Nothing"                            9         9           4
Total                             100%      100%         99%
What respondents liked
 about the U.S.
Freedom                             30        33          33
Work, wealth                        49        44          33
School                               8        22          21
No discrimination                    4         0           0
"Nothing"                            1         0           0
Other ("future," "don't              8         0          13
 know yet")
Total                             100%       99%        101%
What respondents disliked
 about Vietnam
Discrimination                      21        11           0
Communism, no freedom               20        67          24
Lack of work, wealth                47        11          59
"Nothing"                            7        11          12
Other                                4         0           6
Total                             100%       99%        101%
What respondents disliked
 about the U.S.
Family, relationships               16        43          33
Language, culture,                  29        29          44
 climate, food
Work, job, wealth                   31        14          11
Social disorder                     12        14          11
"Nothing"                           12         0           0
Total                             100%      100%         99%
Of course, not all refugees in our survey had the same experience,
and not all spoke with one voice.  While 49 percent cited work as
what they liked about the United States, 31 percent cited the same
factor as what they did not like about the United States.  There were
also group differences.  For example, siblings of Amerasians and
other Vietnamese appreciated U.S.  schooling more than did Amerasians
(22 percent, 21 percent, and 8 percent, respectively). 

The final question--which we strategically delayed asking until after
we had asked our Amerasian interviewees to review their personal
history in both Vietnam and the United States--was which of the two
countries they preferred.  About four out of five Amerasians voted
for the United States, compared with about two out of three of the
other groups. 

========================================================= Appendix VII


John E.  Oppenheim, Assistant Director
L� X.  Hy, Project Manager
Patrick C.  Seeley, Reports Analyst


Arthur Gallegos, Senior Evaluator
Tammy S.  Omedo, Computer Specialist