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William J. Clinton: Statement on Signing the Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act of 2000
Today I signed H.R. 371, the Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act of 2000. This legislation is a tribute to the service, courage, and sacrifice of the Hmong people who were our allies in Laos during the Vietnam war. After the Vietnam war, many Hmong soldiers and their families came to the * United States and have become part of the social fabric of American society. They work, pay taxes, and have raised families and made America their home. However, some Hmongs seeking to become American citizens have faced great difficulty meeting the requirements for naturalization for reasons associated with the unique circumstances of the Hmong culture. Until recently, the Hmong people had no written language. Without this experience, learning English, a requirement of naturalization, has been much more difficult for some Hmongs. This requirement has prevented many Hmongs from becoming full participants in American society. This new law will waive the English language requirement and provide special consideration for the civics requirement for Hmong veterans and their families. This law is a small step but an important one in honoring the immense sacrifices that the Hmong people made in supporting our efforts in Southeast Asia. I would like to recognize Representative Bruce Vento and Senator Wellstone, sponsors of the legislation, for their leadership on this issue.NOTE: H.R. 371, approved May 26, was assigned Public Law No. 106-207.
* White House correction.
Citation: William J. Clinton: "Statement on Signing the Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act of 2000," May 26, 2000. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=58559.