Stephanie Mencimer’s article “The War at Home” (12/20/96) captured the essence of the many difficulties Vietnamese Americans have faced in emigrating to the U.S. and in assimilating into American culture. These people were and are now despised by the Vietnamese government in their country of origin. They are not fully accepted as equals in the United States no matter how conservative their ideals or how hard they work.

The memory of the U.S. government is short. In the quest for open markets for trade, the U.S. government has ignored the continuing abuse of the Vietnamese people by the communist Vietnamese government. The State Department has turned away the remaining boat people that have languished in refugee camps for upwards of 10 years.

Just as disappointing is the approach taken by our own government on the families of war veterans. The U.S. committed to the emigration of families of South Vietnamese soldiers that had fought with the U.S. and had been imprisoned three or more years in communist “re-education “camps. In 1995, the State Department reversed course and revoked this long-standing commitment, but Sen. McCain and Congress reinstated this commitment in legislation passed last summer. Evidently, the State Department and INS bureaucrats still wish to renege on the promise and defy Congress—nothing has been done to put the legislation into effect.

If the antics of the federal bureaucracy cause one to question the state of humanity, the efforts of the Metropolitan Police Department and Long Tran, the Department’s Vietnamese liaison, restore faith.

Alexandria, Va.

via the Internet