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Screening Resumes for 670,000 Vietnamese Asking to Enter U.S.

September 18, 1987|From Reuters

BANGKOK, Thailand — The screening of 670,000 Vietnamese wanting to emigrate to the United States has resumed, 20 months after it was interrupted by the Vietnamese authorities, U.S. officials said today.

They said more than 1,000 applicants were interviewed in Hanoi in the last week, the first time Americans had been allowed to carry out that part of the process inside Vietnam since the program started in 1979.

Bruce Beardsley, director of the U.S. Orderly Departure Program, said he and two colleagues cleared about 90% of those interviewed.

Beardsley said he had a list of 670,000 people who had expressed interest in leaving Vietnam.

Of those, he said 95,000 had been issued letters of introduction, meaning their documents had been checked and the United States was willing to accept them.

They qualified by having close relatives in the United States or close links with the Americans and the U.S.-backed Saigon government before the 1975 North Vietnamese takeover.

They also included 10,000 children of U.S. servicemen. Vietnam agreed to resume screening of the so-called Amerasians in September but this was a bilateral agreement and not part of the departure program.

The successful applicants are undergoing medical tests before being allowed to leave for the United States.

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