Near the top of the list of our most-read posts almost every day is our Fact Sheet on Refugee Resettlement. In addition to that fact sheet here is a handy report from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) that was published in December that I just came across while searching for something else.
It is a year-end review for FY2013 and the cover letter is written by ORR Director Eskinder Negash, formerly a Vice President at the contractor US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). His former boss at USCRI, President Lavinia Limon, was a former director of the ORR (did you get that! the ultimate revolving door between grantor and grantee!).
Here are some numbers one should get firmly planted in one’s mind (that applies to me as well!) when people ask you how many refugees are there. Here is what Negash says the ORR “serves:”
….with the United States welcoming refugees from 65 countries across the globe this past year. The highest number of overseas arrivals represented a slight switch from those of the past few years, with nearly 19,500 Iraqi refugee admissions and 16,300 Burmese refugees accounting for more than half of all refugee arrivals. They were followed by Bhutanese (9,100), Somali (7,600) and Cuban refugees (4,200), with Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia rounding out rest of the top ten admissions groups in FY2013.
The overall population served by ORR and its partners, however, grew to a projected 143,000 new arrivals in Fiscal Year 2013, including almost 72,000 refugees and Special Immigrant Visa holders, an estimated 46,000 asylees and Cuban/Haitian Entrants and Parolees; more than 500 Victims of Trafficking, and nearly 25,000 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC).
And yippee, in the very next paragraph he says they are almost all on a path to citizenship and VOTING! Those unaccompanied kids as well!
The numbers only tell part of the story: most of the 143,000 people ORR served last year are on a path to U.S. citizenship that began the day they arrived. Former refugees, asylees, and UAC are making positive changes in communities across the country—and will continue to do so throughout their lives—opening businesses, buying homes and raising families, and voting (and running!) in local elections.
I often say that we take 70,000 refugees a year on average, but I think we need to follow Negash’s lead and start using a number twice that—143,000 a year arriving in the US and in need of “services” you, the taxpayers, are providing.
Posted in our ‘where to find information’ category.