Paris Peace Accords & Southeast Asian Refugees


United States


The United States’ far-reaching foreign policy and military engagements in Southeast Asia had major domestic ramifications, including the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees. The 1973 signing of the Paris Peace Accords officially ended U.S. direct involvement in Vietnam, but it preceded a large influx of refugees from the region – many of whom had aided or sided with the U.S. during the war. Following the “Fall of Saigon” in 1975, an average of 14,000 asylum seekers entered the United States per month, amounting to more than 400,000 Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees by 1980. In response to the dramatic rise of Southeast Asian refugees, Congress passed the “Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act” of 1975 establishing a domestic resettlement program for Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian refugees. Asylum of Southeast Asian refugees continued at high rates through the 1990s.