The first documented Southeast Asian immigrants arrived in the 1950s and early 1960s. This population consisted of mainly Vietnamese immigrants and was small in number—only a little over 18,000. It was mostly made of university students, diplomats, and wives of American servicemen who entered the country as the war escalated. The second wave of Southeast Asian immigrants was refugees leaving war torn Vietnam, some 130,000. They entered the U.S with the help of the newly passed Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act to provide funds for resettlement programs. The third wave of refugees (1978–1982) involved two groups: the "land people" from Cambodia and Laos, and the "boat people" from Vietnam. The reasons for this move were that Vietnam's internal economic problems and tensions between the Soviet Union, Vietnam's main ally, and China, the principal source of arms for the Khmer Rouge and other groups battling the Vietnamese in Cambodia.
After the change of governments in Vietnam and Cambodia and amidst turmoil in the mid 1970s, many Southeast Asians, fearing reprisals, emigrated from these countries. Among them were children, many of whom were separated from their families prior to, or during, their escape. Many of them had been resettled in the Western countries from refugee camps, and were now adolescents or entering into