A History of the Migration of Cambodians into the United States

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Before 1975, very few Cambodians lived in the United States. Cambodian refugees began immigrating to the United States in large numbers in 1979. The largest wave of Cambodian immigrants came in the early 1980s. After 1985, the wave of immigrants peaked and started to decline because of the more stable political situation in Cambodia.

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In Cambodia, the climate is tropical, with monsoon rains and extremely dry seasons. Education in Cambodia was poor. It was estimated that about 48% of Cambodian men and about 22% of Cambodian women could read and write. The United States ordered a bombing of Vietnamese communist sites in Cambodia that caused sufferings for the Cambodian population living in those areas.

In the first half of 1973, before the U.S. Congress prohibited further bombing in Cambodia, American planes dropped over 100,000 tons of bombs on their country. All Cambodians were put to work at agricultural labor in order to build up the agricultural surplus of the nation to finance rapid industrialization.

 

The U.S. refugee program began accepting Cambodians from refugee camps in Thailand. As thousands of refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia began to come into the United States each year, the United States developed organizational procedures for resettlement. Most Cambodians stayed in refugee camps in Thailand. Agencies under contract to the U.S. Department of State organized classes to teach English to familiarize refugees with the American language and culture. From 1980 to 1981, 34,107 Cambodians entered the United States. From 1982 to 1984, the influx continued, with 36,082 Cambodians entering the United States. Immigrants had more freedom in the United States, and they could preserve their traditions and pursue academic goals without going against governmental orders.

 

 

The majority of Cambodian Americans settled in California, where approximately half of all Cambodians live. Cities like Long Beach and Los Angeles have high populations of Cambodians. Massachusetts has the second-highest population of Cambodians, at about 14,000 people. Cambodian Americans often remain distanced from the United States. By the early 1990s, only about one in every five foreign-born Cambodians had become naturalized US citizens.From 1980 to 1981, 34,107 Cambodians entered the United States. From 1982 to 1984, the influx continued, with 36,082 Cambodians entering the United States.

The largest concentration of Cambodian Americans is in California, where close to 70,000 people, or nearly half of those of Cambodian ethnicity, appear to have settled. The largest Cambodian community was in Long Beach, California, where over 17,000 people, according to the Census, made their home. Again, however, Cambodian American spokespersons maintain that these estimates are dramatically low and that the actual number of Cambodian Americans was probably closer to twice that many. Overall, Cambodians were much happier with the United States and didn't face too many obstacles once they could leave Cambodia. There were social problems like any other group of immigrants, but not many political problems. Stereotypes about Cambodians were prevalent. Many Americans view them as passive, primarily because the Cambodian culture avoids direct conflict and values courtesy.

Adjusting to American traditions has been difficult for most Cambodians, who come from rural areas and have few relevant job skills and little familiarity with mainstream American culture. One of the difficulties has been the problem of differences between generations, between older people who see themselves as Cambodians and sometimes speak little, if any, English and younger people who have either been born in the United States or have no memory of Cambodia and consider themselves entirely American.

The majority of Cambodian Americans settled in California, where approximately half of all Cambodians live. Cities like Long Beach and Los Angeles have high populations of Cambodians. Massachusetts has the second-highest population of Cambodians, at about 14,000. Cambodian Americans often remain distanced from the United States. Only about one out of five foreign-born Cambodians were naturalized U.S. citizens by the early 1990s. From 1980 to 1981, 34,107 Cambodians entered the United States. From 1982 to 1984, the influx continued, with 36,082 Cambodians entering the United States.

The largest concentration of Cambodian Americans is in California, where close to 70,000, or nearly half of the people of Cambodian ethnicity, appear to have settled. The largest Cambodian community was Long Beach, California, where over 17,000, according to Census, made their home. Again, however, Cambodian American spokespersons maintain that these estimates are dramatically low and that the actual number of Cambodian Americans was probably closer to twice that many. Overall, Cambodians were much happier with the United States and didn't face too many obstacles once they could leave Cambodia. There were social problems like any other group of immigrants but not many political problems. Stereotypes about Cambodians were prevalent. Many Americans view them as passive, primarily because the Cambodian culture avoids direct conflict and values courtesy.

Adjusting to American traditions has been difficult for most Cambodians, who come from rural areas and have few relevant job skills and little familiarity with mainstream American culture. One of the difficulties has been the problem of differences between generations, between older people who see themselves as Cambodians and sometimes speak little, if any, English, and younger people who have either been born in the United States or have no memory of Cambodia and consider themselves entirely American.

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A History of the Migration of Cambodians Into the United States. (2023, Mar 09). Retrieved May 22, 2024 , from
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