After the American war in Vietnam, close to 800,000 Vietnamese left the country by boat, survived, and sought refuge in camps throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific. This is the story of what happened to them, asking key questions that remain all too relevant today: Who is a refugee? Who determines this status? And how does it change over time?
From Guam to Malaysia and the Philippines to Hong Kong, In Camps is the first major work on Vietnamese refugee policy to pay close attention to host countries, detailing Vietnamese activism both in the camps and in the diaspora.This bookexplains how Vietnamese were transformed from de facto refugees, to individual asylum seekers, to repatriates. Ambitiously covering people on the ground—local governments, teachers, corrections officers and others as well as powerful players such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the US government, Jana Lipman shows that the local politics of first asylum countries often drove international refugee policy. Unsettling most accounts of Southeast Asian migration to the US, In Camps instead emphasizes the contingencies inherent in refugee policy and experiences.