I'm from the government and I'm here to help
I'm from the Government and I'm here to help
by Dick Mauer
I spent some time as a Criminal Investigator between Border Patrol
stints and had some interesting cases.
The year was sometime in 1975. Viet Nam was falling and Vietnamese
refugees were coming to the U.S. in droves and being resettled here as
fast as possible. One aspect of the refugee influx was about 2500
Vietnamese infant orphans were taken from orphanages to be brought to
the United States. This was accomplished by commercial carriers who put
each infant in baby baskets and strapped them into airliner seats for
the flights. They were distributed around the U.S. mostly by Catholic
Charities as they came from Catholic orphanages.
A little sidelight here is needed. As you probably know, bringing an
orphan into the U.S. for adoption is an expensive, lengthy, procedure
involving considerable paperwork, embassy review, and the services of an
attorney prior to an Immigrant Visa being issued. These orphans came
with nothing in the way of paperwork or embassy input, other than a
name and DOB. Sometimes, not even that, not to mention releases by
natural parents required in adoptions. Now it was the job of
Investigations to create an A file to determine their eligibility to
have Immigrant Visas issued to them and their adoptive families.
I had 2 orphan cases in one of the areas wealthier communities. I was
met with open hostility when I first went to these homes to start the A
file process. When you remember the anti government atmosphere of the
Vietnam war era, it was not surprising that we were met in this fashion.
We were asking to photograph these children and copy any paperwork that
may have accompanied them, and stories were being circulated that the
government wanted to put these infants into institutions here. I recall
being refused entry into homes and subsequent visits, arranged by phone,
had us meeting with attorneys at the homes. Information was very sparse
and I would guess that INS just bit the bullet and issued green cards
once the adoptions were finalized. We were definitely the bad guys as
far as these families were concerned.