It was estimated that there were over 30,000 Amerasians born during the Vietnam War, between the years of 1965 and 1975. Vietnamese Amerasians are children of American servicemen or American contractors and Vietnamese women. Those children suffered horrendous hardships, including racial discriminations, denial from decent employment and education. The Amerasian Homecoming Act, passed by Congress in 1988, gave special immigration status to children of U.S. fathers and allowed applicants to establish mixed race identity by appearance alone. The Orderly Departure Program (ODP) and Amerasian Homecoming Act allowed approximately 25,000 Vietnamese Amerasians and their relatives to come to the U.S. A number of Amerasians left during the Boat Era, while others were amongst the infants and children that were evacuated during Operation Babylift. Many of those who left by boat died at sea. Those who were left behind missed out on the opportunities awaiting them in the United States, their fatherland.
As of today, there are an estimated 400 or more Amerasians who are still living in Vietnam, whose visa applications for the Amerasian Homecoming Act to the U.S. have been repeatedly denied. According to the U.S. government, the main reason for denial is due to lack of proof of their fathers’ military details. Very often, however, no clear reason is provided for the denial. The U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City no longer approves Amerasians’ applications by appearance alone. Many Amerasian applicants are simply determined not “qualified” and no further detailed explanations have been provided. Amerasians Without Borders (AWB) is a nonprofit organization based in Spokane, Washington. The purpose of our group is to assist the left behind Amerasians in attaining visas to the United States under the Amerasian Homecoming Act. We have helped them by means of DNA proof and by locating their long lost fathers and families. Our group has been collecting DNA samples and submitting those samples to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) Laboratory based in Houston, Texas and, occasionally, to a few other similar laboratories.
Over the past few years, our group has been able to successfully locate Amerasians’ biological fathers and relatives in the U.S. In many cases, we successfully reunited them with their family. Unfortunately, many others have not been as lucky. These Amerasians are the children of Vietnam Veterans who have sacrificed their lives for this country, and whose names could be engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The Vietnam War may be long over, but for Amerasians, this lingering issue represents a lack of closure. There is still progress to be made, and more work to be done.
We, the Vietnamese Amerasians in the United States of America, are dedicated to helping the remaining Amerasians living in Vietnam fulfill their dreams of coming to America. We stand as brothers and sisters, ready to assist them with DNA search for their biological fathers who served in the Vietnam War and application process for them to come to America if they choose and begin their New Life in America.
We estimate approximately 400 Amerasians still live in Vietnam, while the number living in the United States remains unknown. Nevertheless, we persevere. Amerasians Without Borders (AWB) is committed to working with both the Vietnamese and the US Governments to implement the Amerasian Homecoming Act of 1988. There is still much to be done. We’re hoping that the amendments to the Homecoming Act will help bring the remaining Amerasians who wish to leave Vietnam and come to live in America, their father’s homeland, able to do so.
As their Amerasian "Brothers and Sisters" in America, we are here to help them see their dreams become a reality.
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