US tightens entry rules for Indochinese refugees

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Washington introduced a strict new policy narrowing the qualifications needed by refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos to resettle in the United States - requiring them to have close personal links to the US. American officials in Bangkok say the move is an attempt stem the flow of refugees who pour into Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, in hopes of getting to the US.

The new policy will not affect more than 5,000 Vietnamese ''boat people'' already in Thailand camps or those arriving there before April 30, the officials said. ''The new policy does not mean we will take fewer people, but it means a narrower definition of those eligible to come,'' one US official said.

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