Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
March 1, 2001
African Refugee Admissions Program
Since 1980, over 100,000 African refugees have been admitted to the U.S. for permanent resettlement. Most were Ethiopian (over 33,000) or Somali (around 35,000), but the number also includes Sudanese, Liberians, Zairians, Rwandans, Ugandans, and Angolans. In recent years, the program has grown more diverse both in terms of nationalities admitted to the U.S. and processing locations. In FY 2000, refugees from over 20 African countries were admitted to the U.S.
The majority of refugee admissions processing in Africa is coordinated by the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, with the assistance of a Joint Voluntary Agency (JVA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Processing in sub-Saharan Africa takes place during circuit rides out of Nairobi calling for careful coordination among the UNHCR (identification of refugees and processing and logistical support on site), JVA (case preparation), INS (adjudication), and IOM (post-adjudication processing and travel arrangements).
The U.S. program also processes African refugees in Cairo, and in FY 1999 and again in FY 2000 this element of the program has expanded significantly, primarily to address the needs of southern Sudanese refugees in Egypt.
We are making preparations to open another processing hub in Accra, Ghana, which will be fully functional in FY 2002.
FY 2001 Admissions Program
The U.S. admissions program for FY 2001 includes a ceiling of 20,000 admissions from Africa, up from 18,000 in FY 2000. Refugees of any nationality in Africa are eligible for consideration if UNHCR or a U.S. Embassy refers them to the program, either individually or as groups, as in need of third country resettlement. The U.S. also identifies and designates as eligible for resettlement processing specific groups of special humanitarian concern to the U.S. Such groups are defined in concert with the UNHCR, INS, NGOs, and other experts.
The family reunification element of the Africa program for FY 2000 applies to spouses, unmarried sons and daughters, and parents of persons who are legal residents of the U.S. and who are nationals of the following countries: Angola, Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC), Sierra Leone, and Sudan. For these cases, a qualified relative in the U.S. files an affidavit with one of the affiliate offices of participating resettlement organizations that triggers resettlement consideration for the family members.