A small number of Kalmyks ended up in displaced persons (DP) camps at the end of World War II. The survivors of the German sponsored Kalmyk Cavalry Corps and their families retreated west with the Wehrmacht. Other Kalmyks in Germany included Soviet POWs that managed to avoid forced repatriation. The Kalmyks in DP camps had no desire to join the fate of their kin in Siberia. Instead they organized to get admission to the US and bring international attention to their people's plight.
The Kalmyks like other Mongol nationalities have East Asian phenotypes. This marked them as being racially Asian rather than European. The immigration laws of the US and a number of other western countries (Australia's whites only immigration policy for instance) discriminated against Asians and would not allow the settlement of Kalmyk DPs. They thus had a much more difficult time leaving the DP camps for third countries than did White European refugees such as Latvians, Ukrainians and Lithuanians. The Kalmyks, however, found a clever way to get around this ban on Asian immigrants. They had themselves reclassified as Europeans on the basis of their geographical origin in contrast to their racial features.
In 1950 and 1951 a "Special Committee on Kalmyk Immigration Affairs" actively lobbied the US Congress to redesignate Kalmyks as Europeans rather than Asians and hence allow them to immigrate. The World Church Service, Tolstoy Foundation, International Help and the Unitarian Church all contributed to this effort. On 31 August 1951 their efforts paid off and Congress officially classified the Kalmyks as Europeans for immigration purposes.