Key Definitions

  • “Refugee” as a “Status” given based on UNHCR criteria
  • Criteria: Crossing International Border, Proof of Persecution, Exclusions
  • Differences: Refugees, Migrants, Asylum Seekers, Stateless, Internally Displaced Persons, Immigrants, Environmental Refugees.

More Global Numbers

  • 65.6 million people globally in refugee or refugee-like situations.
  • 22.5 million have refugee status.
  • One in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, IDP or seeking asylum.
  • If this was a population of a country, it would be the world’s 24th largest population.
  • According to the UNHCR’s Global Trends Report, over half of the world’s refugees are children.
  • 9 out of every 10 refugees are concentrated in countries that are considered economically less developed.
  • Long conflicts, peace building processes are often just as violent as conflicts.

U.S. Commitment to Refugees and Asylum Seekers

  • U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and is administered by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State in conjunction with the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services and offices in the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Each year, the President of the United States, after consulting with Congress and the appropriate agencies, determines the designated nationalities and processing priorities for refugee resettlement for the upcoming year. The President also sets annual ceilings on the total number of refugees who may enter the U.S. from each region of the world.
  • Since 1975, the U.S. has resettled over 3 million refugees, with annual admissions figures ranging from a high of 207,000 in 1980 to a low of 27,110 in 2002.
  • In 2017 the U.S. had originally committed to resettling 110,000 refugees; with current travel ban and pending Supreme Court hearing, this number was drastically cut to 50,000. With FY 18, it is expected to remain at 50,000 resettlements but there is a lot of uncertainty with regards to the U.S. Resettlement Program.

UNHCR: Best Solutions

1.) Voluntary Repatriation

  • Protracted conflicts and violent peace building,

2.) Local Integration

  • Host/Secondary countries with limited resources, yet host the largest number of refugees (86%),
  • Inhospitable attitudes toward refugees,
  • Often denial of basic rights and livelihoods (residency, work authorization, citizenship),
  • Camps can offer protection; Expiration of residency.
  • Majority of refugees live in urban areas; ~43% of all refugees globally live in refugee camps.

3.) Resettlement to a Third Country

  • Limited number of countries willing to host resettlement (U.S., Canada, Europe); 28 countries in total.
  • States agree to admit and grant permanent settlement/residency with non-refoulement
  • Less than 1% of refugees will ever be submitted for resettlement.
  • Long wait times.
  • Exception rather than the standard.