Date of Award

Winter 3-13-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Nicoletta


This paper focuses on the third wave of Vietnamese migration to the United States, which occurred from the 1980s to the 1990s, and how this group of immigrants constructed their identity in a new country. From a Western perspective, particularly an American one, it is easy to categorize all Vietnamese immigrants under the same umbrella. Although there are similarities among all three waves, one significant element that differentiates the third wave from the other two is the United States’ enactment of the Amerasian Homecoming Act of 1987, which facilitated an influx of Vietnamese Americans to the U.S. mainland. This allowed Vietnamese-Amerasian children, whose fathers were U.S. servicemen, to migrate to the United States years after the end of the Vietnam War. Thus, this wave is unique compared to the previous two. In arriving almost twenty years after the war and under specific guidelines, the third-wave immigrants constructed a hybrid identity that was negotiated between being Vietnamese and American through various mediums. Primary sources, such as personal interviews of third-wave Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Amerasians, help define the distinct identity of third-wave Vietnamese immigrants. This project argues that the third wave had economic, cultural, generational differences and similarities compared to the first and second waves because it consisted mainly of Vietnamese-Amerasians as opposed to the Vietnamese migrants of the earlier two waves. The examination of this wave in a historical context allows for the understanding of identity construction, as well as providing a snapshot of Vietnamese immigration history in the United States.