This paper summarizes the recent history of the Indochinese refugee experience in the United States and factors inhibiting their assimilation. Social service practice and policy issues which have arisen during their settlement are discussed.

America's experience during the past decade with the "boat people" and other refugees from Indochina has reignited longstanding controversies regarding immigration. The exodus of the Indochinese has stimulated national interest in the growing world refugee problem and has revived the discussion regarding this country's historic role as a haven for the dispossessed. Social welfare institutions have been challenged to respond to the practice and policy issues associated with the resettlement, adaptation, and assimilation of international exiles. This paper reviews the assimilation of the refugees from Southeast Asia from a social services perspective. As the nation begins to respond to the current migration of refugees from other regions such as Central America, the experience of their more recent predecessors could lend insight into the design of future social services policies and programs for refugee assistance.

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