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But there is a substantial emerging class of Hmong small business owners -- many of them congregated near St.
Paul's University Avenue -- and college-educated Hmong professionals going into fields like law, medicine, and non-profit management.
From 1981 to 1986, the number of Hmong refugees slowed to a few thousand each year, but admissions picked up again between 19, when about 56,000 Hmong refugees were accepted.
After 1994, Hmong refugee admissions slowed to a trickle as most of the Thai camps were by now empty, with the remaining Hmong repatriated to Laos.
For instance, the Hmong general Vang Pao, who commanded the Hmong forces fighting against the Communist North Vietnamese, remains a political leader for many Hmong in America.
And the United States' first Hmong politician, a 32-year-old female lawyer named Mee Moua, was elected to the Minnesota State Senate in 2002.
The Hmong came to America less-prepared for the modern capitalistic society of their new home than most other immigrant groups.
Some of this can be explained by the Hmong's traditional farming roots.
As a result, Hmong households average more than six persons per house or apartment in Minnesota and Wisconsin, compared to about 2.5 persons among the entire population.