At the end of the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodians fled political chaos & physical danger in their homelands. Between 1975 & 1979, some 300,000 of these refugees were admitted to the United States through Presidential action. The law at the time restricted refugee admissions, & many members of Congress wanted to establish a more regular system of immigration & resettlement.
The Refugee Act of 1980 raised the annual ceiling for refugees to 50,000, created a process for reviewing and adjusting the refugee ceiling to meet emergencies, & required annual consultation between Congress & the President. The law changed the definition of ârefugeeâ to a person with a âwell-founded fear of persecution,â a standard established by United Nations conventions & protocols. It also funded a new Office of U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and an Office of Refugee Resettlement and built on already existing public-private partnerships that helped refugees settle & adjust to life in their new country.
View all pages of the Refugee Act of 1980 on the National Archivesâ Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usnationalarchives/sets/72157661462319371