Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine
The Humanitarian Condition
After an overview of the history of the legal creation of the category of “refugee” and the creation of the international refugee regime, the chapter reviews the history of refugee resettlement in the United States. The discussion reveals that the humanitarian management of refugees is centrally about policing their mobility in order to protect state sovereignty. Suspicion and doubt pervade the administration of refugee mobility, and refugees are expected to demonstrate a particular kind of innocent, vulnerable, docile, and dependent subjectivity in return for receiving assistance. This chapter reviews the assessment by the U.S. government and UNHCR of Somali Bantus (Somali minorities) as worthy humanitarian subjects for whom a special P2 (persecuted minority) resettlement program is created. The U.S. media heralds the program as rescuing a group described in U.S. news reports as primitive, former slaves who are among the most persecuted people on earth.