Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
May 9, 2006
Refugee Admissions Program for Latin America and the Caribbean
Since 1975, over 84,000 refugees from Latin American and Caribbean countries have resettled in the United States . Over 55,000 have come from Cuba , with other significant numbers from Haiti , Nicaragua , and El Salvador . Refugee admissions for the region totaled 3,555 in FY 2004 and 6,700 in FY 2005.
At present, the bulk of all refugee processing in the region is in Cuba . The refugee program is a component of the U.S.-Cuba Migration Agreement that allows for the acceptance of at least 20,000 Cubans for permanent residence in the United States each year. Cubans eligible to apply for admission to the United States through the in-country refugee program under the Priority 2 (P-2) category include:
In addition to individuals processed in-country, Cubans outside Cuba may be considered for resettlement if referred by the United Nationals High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or a U.S. Embassy.
In FY 2002, PRM began the development of pilot programs to resettle in the United States vulnerable Colombian refugees located in Ecuador and Costa Rica . In FY 2003, 149 Colombian refugees were admitted to the United States for resettlement, and in FY 2004, another 577 Colombian refugees were admitted. However, the program has declined due to provisions of the Real ID Act, intended to prohibit entry to individuals who provided “material support to terrorists” were applied to Colombian refugees who had been forced to pay a “vacuna” (extorion payment), often under duress. In FY 2005, 323 Colombians were admitted for resettlement; in FY 2006 there will be approximately 50.
FY 2006 Admissions Program
The FY 2006 ceiling for refugee admissions from Latin America and the Caribbean is 5000. Of these the majority will be Cubans processed through the in-country program.