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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration > What We Are Saying > Fact Sheets and Newsletters > 2001
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Washington, DC
March 1, 2001

New Independent States and the Baltics Admissions Program

Background

Since 1989 residents of the New Independent States (NIS) and the Baltics who qualify under the categories specified in the Lautenberg Amendment (Jews, Evangelicals, and certain members of the Ukrainian Catholic or Ukrainian Orthodox Churches), with qualifying relatives in the U.S., have been interviewed in Moscow for refugee status. Those who assert a well-founded fear of persecution and credible basis for fear of persecution are granted refugee status. Over 400,000 individuals have entered the United States as refugees or parolees under this program, nearly 40 per cent of all the refugees admitted since 1989. Admissions totaled 14,454 in FY 2000. The number of applications has dropped from a high of nearly 25,000 in a single month to an average of about 1,100 per month.

Circumstances and conditions in the NIS and the Baltics have changed considerably since 1989. The Department of State monitors conditions in those countries closely and has created a working group, which is reviewing the present operation of this program and its future.

FY 2001 Admissions Program

The Department of State anticipates exceeding the 17,000 admissions ceiling from the NIS and the Baltics during FY 2001, due to strengthened efforts to contact refugees approved in recent years who have not yet emigrated and encourage their departure. The Bureauís Washington Processing Center has contacted individuals who have not traveled to the U.S. to determine whether they intend to emigrate or face obstacles preventing their departure.

The functions of the Washington Processing Center, which is the only U.S.-based refugee processing entity, will be transferred to the Moscow office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in June, 2001. While most of the changes will not affect the application and interview process, applicants and refugees will be advised of relevant changes well in advance of their implementation. A key element of the Bureauís effort to effect a current refugee program in the region is the requirement that all refugees approved after January 1, 2000 must travel within one year of their interview date.

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