Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level



International and Global Studies


Hare, Laurence

Committee Member/Reader

Phillips, Jared

Committee Member/Second Reader

Paradise, Thomas

Committee Member/Third Reader

Rulli, Richard


The U.S. response to the Indochinese refugee crisis from 1975-1992 has been hailed as an excellent example of humanitarianism and sound U.S. foreign policy. It’s example has been used to criticize the U.S. for the refugee policy it currently employs in the Middle East, even as it remains heavily involved in the conflicts creating refugee flows there. This paper asks the following questions: How exactly has refugee policy differed between the two situations? Why is it different? And how might the former inform changes to the latter? This paper employs statistical analysis of refugee admissions data to answer the first, qualitative analysis of administration documents and speeches to answer the second, and provides policy recommendations to address the third. Research found that the U.S. had indeed accepted fewer refugees in both absolute and relative terms from its main War on Terror conflict countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria) than it did from Indochina. The main reasons for this were the different natures of the Cold War and the War on Terror as political unifiers (or not), and the United States’ impressions of political and military success in each region.


refugee policy, Vietnam, Cold War, War on Terror