Should Hmong vets be allowed burial in U.S. cemeteries?

The Legislature might be about to wade into an emotional issue, if it takes up a resolution aimed at Congress and President Obama.

The resolution, filed today, calls on Congress and the president “to amend federal veterans cemetery law to expand eligibility for burial in state veterans cemeteries developed with federal funding to include allied Hmong-American and Lao-American veterans of America’s Secret War in Laos.”

This is not currently an allowed practice, although a separate bill was also filed by the resolution’s authors to allow Hmong veterans and their spouses to be buried in state veterans cemeteries.

The effort dovetails with similar efforts in Congress to open up national cemeteries, such as Arlington and Fort Snelling, to the Hmong veterans. A bill was filed in Congress last October that would open the cemeteries up to 6,900 Hmong veterans, although Rep. Jim Costa says fewer than 3,000 would likely be interested.

Currently, these benefits extend only to American military personnel and members of the Philippine Armed Forces.

The issue gained more prominence more than a year ago when Gen. Vang Pao, who led the Hmong insurgents in Laos on behalf of the CIA, was refused burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

Costa’s bill has gone nowhere since it was filed last October.