Costa Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Honor Hmong Veterans

Dec 22, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA-16) was joined by Vietnam veteran Congressman Paul Cook (R-CA-8) in introducing H. R. 4716, the Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act. The bipartisan legislation would extend to Hmong and Lao Americans who served alongside U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War burial benefits in national cemeteries. Congressmen Raul Ruiz (D-CA-36) and Don Young (R-AK-At Large) are cosponsoring the legislation, and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has introduced a similar bill in the Senate, which currently has seven cosponsors coming from both sides of the aisle.

The United States has not done enough to honor the courageous Hmong men and women who fought on behalf of the United States during the Vietnam War,” said Rep. Jim Costa, who has been working for years to extend burial benefits to Hmong veterans. “These brave individuals conducted direct missions and entered combat shoulder-to-shoulder with U.S. soldiers. Hmong forces saved countless American lives, and more than 100,000 Hmong made the ultimate sacrifice over the course of the war. These heroes deserve our nation’s deep gratitude, and granting Hmong veterans the honor of being laid to rest in our national cemeteries, such as Santa Nella’s San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, is long overdue.

Following the Vietnam War, thousands of Hmong veterans resettled across the United States and in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Currently there are only an estimated 5,000 Hmong veterans still alive, with thousands living in the San Joaquin Valley. In addition to having bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, the Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act is supported by the national and San Joaquin Valley chapters of the Special Guerrilla Units Veterans & Families Development organization and the Lao Veterans of America. The legislation would not change eligibility for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.