Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
May 9, 2006
Refugee Admissions Program for Europe and Central Asia
Since 1975, the U.S. refugee admissions program has resettled over 890,000 refugees from Europe and Central Asia in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of this number came from the countries of the former Soviet Union, with the remainder from other parts of Europe.
Since 1989, the U.S. program has processed nearly 430,000 refugees under the Lautenberg Amendment, which applies to individuals within specified categories (Jews, Evangelicals, and certain members of the Ukrainian Catholic or Ukrainian Orthodox Churches), with qualifying relatives in the United States. In addition to those eligible under the Lautenberg Amendment, all nationalities are eligible for referral to the program by UNHCR or by a U.S. Embassy.
In FY 2005, the U.S. refugee admissions program admitted a total of 11,316 refugees from Europe, Central Asia , and the Baltics, with the majority processed under the Lautenberg Amendment in-country processing program. This represents a significant decline from the 30,000 refugees admitted from the region during FY 2001, as the number of applicants to the program from this region has sharply declined.
Between 1993 and 2003, the United States resettled over 143,000 Bosnian refugees. This program has now largely come to a close as the number of Bosnian refugees resettled to the United States in FY 2005 decreased to fewer than 100.
In February 2004, we opened a new resettlement program for Meskhetian Turks in Krasnodar Kray, Russia . This group had most recently fled ethnic violence in Central Asia in 1989. Although they were citizens of the former Soviet Union, about 11,000 Meskhetian Turks in this region have been denied legal status in Russia by local authorities. Some 14,000 Meskhetian Turks have applied to the program. Some 12,000 have been approved for refugee resettlement in the United States, most of whom will arrive before the end of FY 2006.
FY 2006 Admissions Program
The FY 2006 ceiling for this region is 15,000. In addition to continued processing of Lautenberg Amendment cases and Meskhetian Turks, we will continue circuit rides to the Caucasus and Central Asia to interview applicants throughout the region.