A U-S State Department official involved in bringing refugees to Iowa in the 1970’s spoke at a town meeting Tuesday on immigration. Julia Taft is the Assistant Secretary of State for Refugees and Immigration. She says the origin of the refugees 25 years ago was mainly from Indo-China, while today they come from many more countries. She noted another difference,there is less media attention surrounding the refugees and their plight today. The number of refugees has decreased, and Taft says it affects the way refugees adapt to their new homes as they have fewer people to turn to for support.Refugees fled Vietnam and Cambodia due to war 25 years ago. Taft says 10 years later, refugees came from the Cold War countries, and today they come from countries were they flee ethnic and religious strife.Taft says there seems to be less opposition to refugees and immigrants now.She believes the nation’s good economy has eased some of the concern over refugees. Taft says Tuesday’s town meeting in Des Moines let her learn what Iowans think about the situation, while she was also able to share the government’s view.
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