It was estimated that there were about 25,000 to 30,000 Amerasians born within 10 years period during the Vietnam War between the years of 1965 and ended in 1975. These Vietnamese Amerasians are children of American servicemen or American contractors and Vietnamese women. Those children suffered horrendous hardships including racial discriminations, denial of education during childhood, and unable to obtain decent employment as adults.
The Amerasian Homecoming Act was passed by Congress in 1988 which 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. Many Amerasians also left during the “Boat People Era”. Unfortunately, many of those who left by boat died at sea. During that time, many Vietnamese people either bought or adopted the Amerasians with the intention to gain easy acceptance into the United States for their entire family. These Vietnamese people would claimed to be as care givers or family members to the Amerasians. Another group of Amerasians were also amongst the infants and children that were evacuated before the Fall of Saigon with the infamous name called the “Babylift Operation”. However, hundreds of those Amerasians who were now still left behind missed out on the opportunities awaiting them in the United States, their fatherland, while the United States have been continuously “open arms” receiving tens of thousands of refugees from around the globe coming into this great country each year.
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. Quite often, there would be no clear reason 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.
After questioning for more details, we found out that U.S Consular Officers now required that Amerasians must have proof of their father. This requirement makes it impossible to obtain. When the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the Vietnamese mothers destroyed numerous documents because they feared the safety of their families. For many Amerasian orphans, they have no knowledge of their mother’s identity. Due to this, how can Amerasians able to provide evidence of their American father’s identity?
Therefore, Amerasians Without Borders (AWB) is a nonprofit organization based out of Spokane, Washington. Our purpose is to give them the opportunity to prove their Amerasian identity that they are Children of Vietnam Veterans and assist them by attaining visas to the United States under the Amerasian Homecoming Act.
In Thanksgiving of 2013, we started a DNA program which has helped them by providing DNA proof and by locating their long-lost fathers, siblings, and families. Our group has been collecting DNA samples and submitting those samples to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) as well as other similar like Ancestry.
Over the past 5 years, our group has tested nearly all of them and were able to successfully locate Amerasians’ biological fathers, siblings 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 which is more than 58,000 American soldiers had died or Missing In Action during the 10 years long of Vietnam War.
The Vietnam War may be long over for others, 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.
Father's Day - Dateline NBC
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