REFUGEES: A Cool and Wary Reception

The final U.S. act in the Viet Nam drama threatened to divide Americans deeply. For the most part, they applauded their Government's efforts to save refugees' lives. But they reacted warily and skeptically, blending legitimate economic concerns with ugly racist and xenophobic fears, to news that thousands of refugees would be brought to the U.S. Of 1,491 adults questioned recently by the Gallup poll, only 36% thought that the refugees should be permitted to live in the U.S.; 54% said that they should be kept out.

The public hostility stemmed in part from confusion over how many refugees there were...

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