Refugees in America in the 1990s: A Reference Handbook

Refugees in America in the 1990s: A Reference Handbook

Refugees in America in the 1990s: A Reference Handbook

Refugees in America in the 1990s: A Reference Handbook

Excerpt

This volume began with the intention simply to update a reference volume on refugees published by Greenwood Press in 1985. However, the sharp changes in the situation of refugees over the last decade, the expansion in the quantity and quality of research on refugees, and the need to recognize a broader range of refugee groups have resulted in an entirely new book--two thirds of this volume is completely original; the remaining third is substantially revised.

Now, as then, the experience of refugees is complex and compelling. While it must be understood through the specific experiences of particular refugees, its understanding benefits from a comparative consideration of multiple refugee groups. This volume attempts to balance those two needs. Thus, although the heart of the volume is Part II with its individual group chapters, the two introductory chapters of Part I and the more documentary chapters of Part III attempt to provide a broader, comparative focus.

My debts are many. The contributors themselves deserve credit for being willing to structure their broad experience into relatively condensed presentations. I must note particular pleasure at having some refugee groups included for the first time: Juliene Lipson and Pat Omidian on Afghans, Elzbieta Gozdziak on Eastern Europeans, Tekle Woldemikael on Ethiopians and Eritreans, and Mehdi Bozorgmehr on Iranians. The chapters on these groups greatly expanded the scope of the book and the understanding of refugees that it aims to encourage. I am also particularly pleased that Phil Holman was willing to take on the task of introducing the U.S. refugee program, a program that he understands better than anyone else I know.

Comments and suggestions from a variety of people have been helpful along the way: Joe Coleman raised some intriguing comparisons between Cubans and Vietnamese, Beatrice Hackett made a variety of helpful suggestions, Steve Gold . . .

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