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US immigration legislation online


1982 Amerasian Immigration Act (An act to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide preferential treatment in the admission of certain children of United States citizens)

S. 1698; Pub.L. 97-359; 96 Stat. 1716.

97th Congress; October 22, 1982.

You can find the full text of this law as a PDF here.



Indochina is defined as “a peninsula in SE Asia, between the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea, comprising Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, W Malaysia, and Burma (Myanmar)”. This act of 1982 is an amendment to the Immigration and Naturalization Act. It states the amendment’s intention is to “provide preferential treatment in the admission of certain children of United States citizens” - more specifically, children fathered by American GIs during the Vietnam War. The child of the US citizen has to meet certain criteria. The Attorney General may approve a petition for an alien under these circumstances:

  • The child was born in Indochina after 1950 and before the “enactment of this subsection” as well as fathered by a US citizen.
  • The alien has received a guarantee of legal custody as well as financial responsibility.
  • If the child is under 18 years of age then prior arrangements should be made with a “sponsor” who is responsible for that child. The mother of the child must have also released rights to that child and released them for emigration.

The Attorney General is also responsible for making sure the alien is, in fact, a child of a US citizen. This is achieved through observance of physical appearance, birth or baptismal records, as well as proof of financial support or letters from the US parent.

(Summary by Shauna Fellers)



Amerasian Child Find Network, Inc. A Non-Profit Corporation - This site is run by a non-profit organization that provides a central place for families to re-unite as well as useful historical information on the history of Amerasian children.


Many thanks to Hein Online for document provision, and The University of Washington-Bothell Library, for arranging web hosting. If you have any questions about this site, please contact the course instructor, Sarah Starkweather, at sarah [dot] starkweather [at] gmail [dot] com.