There’s not a lot of room around the table in the Vang home — but soon it will be even more crowded, as the family of five becomes a family of 13.
The Vangs will welcome eight of their relatives who, like them, are Hmong (search) refugees from a camp in Thailand. They’re coming to the United States because the federal government has given the green light to 15,000 Hmong refugees to relocate to Minnesota.
Scattered throughout Southeast Asia, the Hmong were U.S. allies during the Vietnam War (search) — which caused them to be branded traitors and persecuted by local governments. After the war, thousands of them came to the U.S. The rest wound up in a Thai refugee camp.
The Thai government now wants that camp closed, so the United States agreed to take them. Most, like the Vangs’ kin, will settle with relatives in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area in Minnesota, which has the largest Hmong population in the country.
St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly has two major concerns: The cost of taking in a new wave of Hmong refugees and how they’ll adjust to life in America. Already, almost a quarter of the estimated 300,000 Hmong refugees in this country call Minnesota home.
But leaders in Minnesota’s Hmong community say they’re ready to help with the influx, and local governments are bracing themselves to deal with the new arrivals.
Click here to watch a report by Fox News Channel's Steve Brown.