The Tibetan diaspora began fifty years ago when the
current Dalai Lama fled Lhasa and established a government-in-exile in
India. For those fifty years, the vast majority of Tibetans have kept
their stateless refugee status in India and Nepal as a reminder to
themselves and the world that Tibet is under Chinese occupation and
that they are committed to returning someday.
In the 1990s,
the U.S. Congress passed legislation that allowed 1,000 Tibetans and
their families to immigrate to the United States; a decade later the
total U.S. population includes some 10,000 Tibetans. Not only is the
social fact of the migration—its historical and political contexts—of
interest, but also how migration and resettlement in the U.S. reflect
emergent identity formations among members of a stateless society.