The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program Crisis Continues in 2003
The United States has cut admissions drastically, even though the world's trouble spots have kept the population of refugees and displaced people well above 30 million. From 1990 to 1994, the United States admitted an average of nearly 120,000 refugees annually. From 1995 to 2001, the average plunged to less than 77,000. The IRC's advocacy efforts are focused on increasing admissions to their earlier level of more than 100,000 refugees annually.
Based on the cumulative shortfall in admissions the IRC estimates that over 125,000 people have been denied the chance for resettlement in the United States since 1992. (Data from the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration)
Why have admissions fallen so drastically?
Procedural roadblocks and obstacles aggravated by insufficient resources and a lack of priority compound the Administration's inability to bring refugees to safety. Close to the end of the second quarter of FY2003, only 6,763 refugees have arrived in the U.S. The International Rescue Committee fully supports U.S. government measures that make the U.S. more secure. Many of these initiatives make an already secure U.S. Refugee Admissions Program more secure.
Who is suffering as a result of this crisis?
Refugees stranded in camps and dangerous conditions remain at risk while the bureaucratic process limps forward. Many Americans wait in desperation for refugee spouses, parents and children trapped in refugee camps overseas, frequently in life-threatening situations.
What must be done?
- The Administration must communicate that the arrival of U.S.-approved refugees is a priority and that there is a commitment to achieving the goal set by the Presidential Determination.
- Congress must appropriate all necessary resources so that the Administration can complete timely screenings and processing for admissions. Members must alert the White House that providing safety and rescue for refugees through resettlement is not only part of America's proud tradition as a leader in the free world, but that it is a priority for Americans.
- Our promise must be fulfilled. Actions speak louder than words. We must demonstrate to the world that the United States is a compassionate country that honors its tradition of providing safety and freedom to those fleeing persecution.
What do refugees have to do with terrorism?
Refugees are fleeing terrorism!
- Refugees have fled persecution, terror and life or death situations.
- Refugees do not choose to leave their homes. They are forced to flee for their lives.
- Refugees are "just like us"; they were raising families, pursuing careers and carrying on everyday activities before forced to flee. Now they only hope for the chance to start a new life of freedom and safety.
- 80 percent of the world's refugees are women and children and are at risk in vulnerable and unstable conditions.
Why should we continue to welcome refugees?
Refugees strengthen America!
- The United States is a nation built by immigrants and refugees.
- The IRC provides critical services to newly arriving refugees so that they quickly become self-sufficient.
- Refugees are survivors. They are highly motivated, extremely resourceful, and eager to start a new life.
- Refugees develop strong ties to their communities and make active contributions to their newly adopted home. Refugees, like all Americans, work hard and pay taxes.
- Albert Einstein, a refugee himself, suggested the founding of the International Rescue Committee with the mission to help those fleeing persecution and civil strife.
- Refugees go on to become citizens.
Don't Let Terrorism Win!
- Many refugees come to the United States after being victimized by the very regimes and terrorist cells the Bush Administration seeks to oust.
- The United States must not surrender one of its core values and proudest traditions of protecting those who have fled religious and political persecution.