Former President Bill Clinton faced his own refugee problems when he tried to prevent Cuban refugees from settling in Arkansas in the 1980s.
Clinton, serving as the governor of Arkansas, protested President Jimmy Carter’s orders to house Cuban refugees in his state. Then-Cuban President Fidel Castro faced a bad economy in the country. Because of the country’s economic problems, he allowed 125,000 Cubans leave and go to America.
Carter, who at the time said Americans must welcome the refugees with “open arms,” told Clinton Arkansas’s Fort Chaffee should hold some of them.
Fort Chaffee had been used as a training and prisoner of war camp during World War II, holding almost 3,000 German POWs. In the late 70s, the fort served as a place to process Southeast Asia refugees and connect them with American sponsors.