U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video
 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
October 17, 2001

U.S. Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Program

The U.S. considers for refugee admission persons of special humanitarian concern who can establish persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The legal basis of the refugee admissions program is the Refugee Act of 1980 which embodies the American tradition of granting refuge to diverse groups suffering or fearing persecution.

Each year, there is an extensive consultative process during which representatives of the Administration and Congress, state and local governments, and private voluntary organizations focus on refugee resettlement needs worldwide and the domestic and international implications of U.S. refugee policy. The President, after congressional consultations, establishes refugee admissions levels and regional allocations for the coming fiscal year. A worldwide processing priority system sets the guidelines for the orderly management of refugee applications for admission to the U.S. within the regional ceilings.

Eligibility for refugee status is decided on a case-by-case basis. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officers conduct personal interviews of all applicants. Those found eligible for refugee status and their immediate family members have medical examinations and security namechecks are performed to determine if any inadmissabilities exists. They also attend cultural orientation sessions prior to departure for the U.S. Each refugee case is assigned to an American private voluntary agency that, working under a cooperative agreement with the Department of State, provides sponsorship and initial resettlement services, including housing, essential furnishings, food and other basic necessities, clothing, and additional orientation.

Transportation arrangements to the U.S. are usually made through the International Organization for Migration (IOM.) Refugees are expected to repay the cost of their transportation. At the U.S. port of entry, INS admits the refugee officially to the U.S. and authorizes employment.

The U.S. Government priority is to promote economic self-sufficiency as quickly as possible, so as to limit the need for public assistance and encourage refugees to contribute to the diversity and enrichment of our country as previous newcomers have done. Programs funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and administered by each State provide cash and medical assistance, training programs and employment and other support services to assist refugees make the adjustment to life in the U.S. After five years of residency, refugees are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Since 1975, over two million refugees have been offered permanent resettlement in the U.S.:

Refugee Admissions, FY 1975 to date*

   

Africa

118,941

East Asia

1,275,998

Europe

275,169

Former Soviet Union

572,474

Latin America/Caribbean

84,909

Near East/South Asia

130,524

   

TOTAL

2,458,015

*As of August 31, 2001

FY 2001 Admissions Program

The FY 2001 admissions ceiling is 80,000, distributed as follows:  

Refugee Admissions Ceilings, FY 2001

   

Africa

21,000

East Asia

6,000

Former Yugoslavia

20,000

Former Soviet Union

17,000

Latin American/Caribbean

3,500

Near East/South Asia

12,500

Unallocated reserve

--

   

TOTAL

80,000



  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.