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MPR News

1987: Hmong families meet arriving relatives at airport

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Original broadcast date: Sept. 18, 1987

MPR News reporter Tom Meersman reports from Twin Cities International Airport as Northwest flight 128 arrives from Bangkok. Among its passengers are nearly three dozen Hmong refugees planning to resettle in Minnesota.

"Weariness gives way to smiles and tears of joy, as they recognize their family members in the waiting crowd," Meersman reports.

The influx of Hmong families into the Twin Cities, Meersman reports, came after a U.S. State Department decision to help resettle Hmong refugees before the end of the 1987 fiscal year. 

Meersman said that an estimated 1,500 new arrivals would join the 13,000 Hmong people already living in Minnesota within the six weeks following his report.

Hmong in Minnesota

The year 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the Hmong people's arrival in Minnesota. At that time, the number of Hmong could be counted in the dozens.

Now the Twin Cities metro area is home to 64,000 Hmong people, making it the largest urban population of Hmong in the country. This story is one of many, culled from the MPR News radio archives, as we look back at the history of the Hmong people, both in Southeast Asia and Minnesota.