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Excerpted from 9/94: FY 1995 PROPOSED REFUGEE ADMISSIONS REPORT TO THE
CONGRESS ON PROPOSED REFUGEE ADMISSIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1995 - U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
In the resolution of refugee problems, the United States gives highest priority to the safe, voluntary return of refugees to their homelands. This policy, embodied in the Refugee Act of 1980, is also the first priority for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). If safe, voluntary repatriation is not feasible, settlement in countries of asylum within the region is sought as the next preferred alternative. Often, however, political differences, lack of economic resources to support large numbers of additional people, or ethnic, religious or other deep-rooted animosities prevent this option from being exercised. Finally, consideration is given to resettlement in third countries, including the United States.
The United States considers for 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. The Act adopted, for the purpose of our refugee admissions program, the definition of "refugee" contained in the United Nations Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. The definition, which may be found in Section 101 (a) (42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Refugee Act, is as follows:
"The term "refugee" means: (A) any person who is outside any country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, or (B) in such circumstances as the President after appropriate consultation (as defined in section 207 (e) of this Act) may specify, any person who is within the country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, within the country in which such person is habitually residing, and who is persecuted or who has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The term "refugee" does not include any person who ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."
The estimated world population of refugees and externally displaced persons is over 19 million; persons displaced within their own countries by war, famine and civil unrest may exceed that number. The United States works with other governments and international and private organizations to protect refugees, displaced persons, and conflict victims and strives to ensure that survival needs for food, health care and shelter are met. Under the authority contained in the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962, as amended, the United States contributes to the international activities of the UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other international and private organizations which provide ongoing relief and assistance for refugees, displaced persons, and conflict victims. The United States has been instrumental in mobilizing a community of nations to work through these and other organizations in alleviating the misery and suffering of refugees throughout the world.
The United States, aware that more than 80 percent of the world's refugees are women and young children, recognizes the special needs of these vulnerable groups, particularly in the areas of protection and assistance. The United States supports the UNHCR and other relevant international, governmental and non-governmental organizations in their efforts to involve refugee women in implementing programs on their own behalf, and also supports the assigning of women officers to positions where they can have a positive impact on the protection and well-being of women and children refugees.
We continue to press for the most effective use of international resources directed to the urgent needs of refugees and displaced persons. During FY 1994, the United States has supported major relief programs in Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Near East. Contributions for these funds were made through organizations including the UNHCR, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the ICRC, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This support averted further human tragedy and helped sustain life by providing food and other assistance to meet the basic human needs of refugees, displaced persons, and conflict victims. Details are provided in the World Refugee Report.
With regard to refugees resettled in the United States, the U.S. Government aims to promote economic self-sufficiency as quickly as possible, limiting the need for public assistance and encouraging refugees to contribute to the diversity and enrichment of our country as previous newcomers have done. To this end, short-term English language and cultural orientation programs for certain groups of refugees have been established overseas to initiate the process of adapting to our complex society. Particular attention is paid to the health of refugees to ensure that communicable diseases are controlled before entry into the United States. Federally-funded programs administered by the States have provided cash and medical assistance, training programs, employment and other support services to many refugees soon after arrival in the United States. A variety of institutional providers have performed these services, including private voluntary agencies who also perform initial reception and placement services under cooperative agreements with the Department of State. All of these benefits are intended for short-term utilization during a refugee's transition to an independent, contributing member of the national economy and of American society.
REFUGEE ADMISSIONS IN FY 1993 AND FY 1994
FY 1994 Projected
FY 1993 FY 1994 Arrivals FY 1994
Region Actual Ceiling Thru 7/94 Arrivals
Africa 6,969 7,000 4,566 6,000
East Asia 49,858 45,000 33,558 42,000
Eastern Europe* 2,651
Latin America/ 4,126 9,000** 4,688 8,000
Near East 7,000 6,000 3,903 6,000
Former Soviet Union/ 53,000** 40,073 48,000
Unallocated Reserve **
PSI 251 1,000 -0- -0-
TOTALS 119,482 121,000 86,788 110,000
* Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe ceilings were combined in FY-
** Reallocations: 3,000 admissions numbers initially assigned to the
Unallocated Reserve were reallocated during the year to the Latin
America/Caribbean ceiling. An initial allocation of 55,000 numbers to
the Former Soviet Union/Eastern Europe ceiling was reduced by 2,000 to
53,000, with the 2,000 numbers reallocated to the Latin
America/Caribbean ceiling. The initial 4,000 numbers allocated to the
Latin America/Caribbean ceiling were thus augmented by an additional
5,000 to accommodate a surge in Haitian admissions during the year.
The President proposes to respond to the humanitarian needs of refugees by establishing for FY-1995 an admissions ceiling of 112,000 refugees for permanent resettlement in the United States. Proposed allocations within this ceiling are shown in Table II below:
PROPOSAL FOR U.S. REFUGEE ADMISSIONS IN FY 1995
AREA OF ORIGIN CEILING
East Asia 40,000*
Former Soviet Union/Eastern Europe 48,000
Latin America and the Caribbean 8,000
Near East 5,000
Unallocated Reserve 2,000
SUB-TOTAL, FUNDED ADMISSIONS 110,000
Private Sector Initiative 2,000
* This figure includes Amerasians and their family members who enter as
immigrants under a special statutory provision but receive the same
benefits as refugees.
The President also proposes to specify that special circumstances exist so that, for the purpose of admission under the limits established above and pursuant to section 101(a)(42)(B) of the INA, certain persons, if they otherwise qualify for admission, may be considered as refugees of special humanitarian concern to the United States even though they are still within their countries of nationality or habitual residence. The proposed designations for FY 1995 are persons in Cuba, Haiti, Vietnam and the former Soviet Union.
In addition to the proposed admission of refugees from abroad, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) will be authorized to adjust to the status of permanent resident alien 10,000 persons who have been granted asylum in the United States and have been in the United States for at least one year, pursuant to Section 209 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In the regional descriptions which follow, an overview of refugee-generating conditions is provided. In addition, voluntary repatriation, resettlement within the region, and third-country resettlement opportunities are mentioned. There is also reference to refugee resettlement by countries other than the United States. More detailed information and statistics on these subjects are found in the companion World Refugee Report.
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