Publication Date

7-8-2015

Category

Data/Demographics/History

Abstract

Bhutanese refugees have a complicated history. In the late 19th and early 20th century, an influx of undocumented Nepali immigrants into Bhutan occurred. These individuals were settled in the southern region of Bhutan and referred to as Lhotshampas, meaning “southerners”. The Bhutanese government enforced the Bhutanese Citizenship Act of 1958 as an effort to more closely control the immigration. The government wished to promote cultural and national unity throughout Bhutan. Upon Bhutan’s first census in 1988, the government became aware of the vast extent of native Nepali individuals living in the southern region. After the census, the government began efforts to remove these groups. Since 2003, New York State has resettled 5,741 refugees from Bhutan, with 745 in the 2013 fiscal year. Many of these have been resettled in Erie County.

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