Hmong Refugees Losing Federal Aid

About 1,600 Hmong refugees in the United States stopped getting their monthly checks from the federal government in the last year because they failed to become American citizens.

About 25 of them are in Wisconsin.

The federal government requires refugees who came to the U.S. after August 26, 1996 to become U.S. citizens within seven years.

Those who fail to meet that requirement forfeit their supplemental security income--a form a aid usually only given to low-income people who are over 65 or who have disabilities.

Senator Herb Kohl is sponsoring a bill to extend the citizenship deadline by two years.

He says many of the refugees are unfamiliar with the process of becoming a citizen.