Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

When Jerry Brown Rejected Vietnamese Refugees

As if we needed another reason not to vote for retread California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, I just learned via a BookTV talk by former South Vietnamese, and now American, U.S. Marine veteran and author Quang Pham that Brown tried to block Vietnamese refugees from settling in California when he was governor in the 1970s. At the same time, he's always been soft on illegal immigration from Mexico and South America and friendly to Castro and Cuba. So one can surmise that the left-leaning Brown didn't want the Vietnamese refugees to settle in California because they were anti-Communists (and with good reason).

Here's a snippet from a Silicon Valley Mercury News article titled, "After the fall: Vietnamese remember 'Black April' 35 years later":

By Christmas of 1975, an estimated 130,000 Vietnamese refugees had been sponsored by churches and families who provided them with new homes in the United States. According to an article in Vietnam magazine, an American publication, the only state that initially resisted the influx of boat people was California, where Jerry Brown was then in his first term as governor. Brown's administration reportedly attempted to prevent planes loaded with refugees from landing at Travis Air Force Base.

Brown received a stinging rebuke from White House photographer David Hume Kennerly, who had photographed the evacuation. According to the article, Kennerly said Brown had "no compassion for your fellow human beings."

Four years later, while positioning himself for a presidential bid, Brown created a task force to help boat people find homes in the state. A spokesman for his current campaign for governor, Sterling Clifford, declined to comment on Brown's previous positions.

Judging from comments left on online articles and threads on the subject, Brown won't be receiving the votes of California's substantial Vietnamese-American community. They have a long memory.