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Wayne Johnson: A Legacy Continues

posted on February 9, 2011 at 11:14 AM

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Former chief of the Bureau of Refugee Services Wayne Johnson talks about the roles former Iowa Governor Robert Ray and other Iowans played in helping refugees in 1979. These earlier events laid the foundation for future refugee efforts.

Well, I think it continues today. I mean, had it not, had he not done this, had the program not been put into place, had it not been successful through the efforts of many different agencies and many different people, many different institutions—would the state be as able to accept Bosnians beginning in 1993, Sudanese beginning in 1992?

We're beginning to see a few Burmese, and we're told that there will probably be many more Burmese coming to the U.S. Now how many will come to Iowa is unknown, of course. And there will be a sizeable number of Burundi’s coming to the U.S. to the refugee program. How many coming to Iowa—I don't know. But the die has been cast and the path is well trodden. And there are experienced people and people who are willing to be involved.

Would all of that be here today had not the success been built earlier? I don't know; that is a philosophical question. But I think that the legacy continues.

Tags: Asia documentaries governors history legacy refugees