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Abstract

This analysis considers the circumstances of Southeast Asian refugee immigration following the Vietnam War as well as the political and social environment in the US upon their arrival, in order to examine the historical factors that link to their subsequent educational trends. Receptive government policies enabled these communities to survive; however, with the exception of first-wave Vietnamese refugees, their limited job skills, English language knowledge, and education upon arrival were exacerbated by overall prejudiced societal reception and the lack of an existing co-ethnic community to buffer their entry into US society. All groups have generally experienced low academic achievement except in the case of Vietnamese Americans, for whom a notable contingent demonstrates higher attainment. Implications for subsequent generations, and for research and practice, are discussed.