Beginning this weekend, the first group of former Vietnamese ``reeducation camp'' detainees and their accompanying family members (61 persons) will arrive in the United States. They are the first to depart under a bilateral agreement concluded last July in Hanoi between the United States and Vietnam. The group arrived in Bangkok on January 5 and 6, where they have spent the last week completing their final processing before departure for the United States. A second group (88 persons) is scheduled to arrived next week.
All Americans rejoice at this event, but we particularly share the joy of those in the Vietnamese-American community who will now, at long last, be reunited with their family and friends in the United States.
The U.S.-Vietnam Special Reeducation Center Detainee Resettlement Program represents the culmination of years of intensive U.S. diplomatic effort to obtain permission for those persons and their families who were closely associated with the United States during the Vietnam War period to emigrate to the United States. We expect a total of 700 former detainees and their family members to depart Vietnam this month and 7,000 to enter the United States by the end of the current fiscal year on September 30.