Former Iowa Governor Robert Ray talks about Iowa's response to a plea from the President of the United States asking Americans to help refugees from Southeast Asia in 1975.
If you read the newspapers you knew what was happening to some extent. And then the President of the United States took it upon himself to do something about it and that was Gerry Ford.
Gerry Ford had a great understanding of issues and was a people's person, and he asked the states to accept a certain number of refugees and we responded. We said, "We'll take our fair share and now we have to plan on how we're going to do that and what we're going to do when these people arrive." And so that was kind of a beginning of it all.
I did not want to put an agency in human services, I wanted these people that we were going to accommodate to come here and become good citizens. And by that I mean go to work and take care of their families and get a good education. And we were going to help them.