WHO ARE REFUGEES.
As per the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were 26 million refugees and 4.2 million asylum seekers in 2019. On average, 37,000 people are forced to flee their homes because of danger per day. Nearly 50% of all refugees are minors under the age of 18
REACH engages youth who arrive as refugees and asylum seekers.
A refugee is a person who has left his or her country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion. Refugees are able to automatically adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident status after one year in the United States. Refugees must register with the United Nations (UN) outside of the borders of their own country to become refugees.
An asylum seeker is a person seeking refuge in another country because of these same threats, but is yet to have their refugee status legally recognized. International law recognizes the right to seek asylum, but does not oblige states to provide it. Asylum Seekers must ask for protection directly from within the country, or border of the country, where they hope to remain. Once granted asylum status, most are eligible for the same services as refugees.
Source: UNHCR, 18 June 2020
MAJOR SOURCE COUNTRIES OF REFUGEES FROM 2016-2020.
Democratic Republic of Congo
THREE PATHWAYS FOR REFUGEES.
There are three internationally accepted durable solutions for refugees. The UN prioritizes 1 and 2. Less than 1% of refugees are resettled annually across the globe.
Refugees return to their former country of nationality when conditions are deemed safe.
Refugees remain in the country to which they first fled after receiving agreement from the host country.
Refugees are resettled to a third country when they cannot safely return to their home country and when their life, liberty, safety, health or human rights are at risk in the country to which they first fled. Resettlement becomes the priority when there is no other way to guarantee the legal or physical security of the refugee.
RESETTLEMENT IN THE U.S.
Once the UNHCR has referred a refugee to the U.S. for resettlement, a comprehensive vetting process begins. The U.S. decides whether or not to accept the refugee for resettlement.
Historically, the United States has been a champion for refugees; resettling 3,455,534 refugees since 1975.
The U.S. resettled refugees from 80 countries in the past five years. The majority of those admitted came from Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Ukraine.
“We all must stand together and recommit to building a more inclusive and welcoming America. That’s how we will restore the soul of our nation.”
-President Joe Biden,
June 20, 2020
HOW ARE REFUGEES PROCESSED?
To be admitted to the U.S., refugees go through several rounds of background checks, screenings and interviews under the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).
Average Processing Time is
Cultural Orientation & Medical Screenings
Post-Acceptance & Travel Processing
The Department of State Screens the Refugee to Determine Eligibility for Resettlement
One of 9 Refugee Support Centers (RSC) initiates biographic checks
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services assesses eligibility and collects biometric data (fingerprints, iris, and facial features)
Multiple federal intelligence agencies conduct biometric security checks
Physicians contracted by the RSC screen for contagious diseases and medical needs
The RSC provides approximately 30 hours of cultural orientation training prior to departure
The International Organization for Migration coordinates travel and provides no-interest travel loans
One of 9 National Voluntary Agencies place the refugee with a local partner, which provides basic services such as food, clothing, housing, school enrollment, English language training, and job placement
The Department of Homeland Security Approves or Denies Resettlement After Security Checks
The Refugee Receives a Travel Loan, which Must be Repaid
Once Resettled, the Refugee is Expected to be on the Path to Self-Sufficiency within 90 days
<< Hover over each step to learn more.