The arrival of Cambodian refugees in France led to an atypical political mobilization in the process of their reception. The balance of political power in France, the sociocultural 'mood' (zeitgeist) and the 'mediatization' of the Indochinese region impacted on their resettlement and gave them an advantage over other groups of immigrants. This is relevant as it unmasks the truth behind the easily presumed 'equality under law' of immigration procedures. Also, it may help us understand the hidden nature of Cambodian communities in France to this day. These conclusions are based on fieldwork conducted within the French Cambodian communities in Lyon and Paris. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.