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A timeline

Approximately 12,001 refugees resettle in San Diego in the fiscal years of the 1980’s coming from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Iraq.

The Federal Refugee Act of 1980 reinforces relations between resettlement agencies and the federal US government. Southern California begins receiving about 35% of all SouthEast Asian refugees until at least 1994.

1980's Overview


Events in San Diego

Events in United States 

Global Events 

Iran-Iraq war

The Iran-Iraq war begins.


Multicultural Community Relations Office


This office is developed by the San Diego Police Department to engage and build trust with the various refugee communities in the city, through non-enforcement interactions with the department. It creates youth programs such as the Southeast Asian Youth Program and an East African Youth Program to service refugee youth, educating them on PTSD, gang and drug prevention.

Alliance for African Assistance


This organization is established to provide low-cost immigration and citizenship services to refugees, asylees, and the general public. It specializes in family reunification, citizenship, and other miscellaneous immigration services.


Ethiopian-Somali Border War

The first Ethiopian/Somali border conflict occurs.


Police Athletics League

This league is developed to allow officers from SDPD and the County Probation Departments to work with civilian personnel and volunteers to provide leadership and mentoring critical in promoting youth safety, positive life choices, and academic success. It later merges with Sports Training Academics Recreation (STAR).

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