3 Million Refugees Promised Safe Haven in the United States

Refugees from everywhere given second chance in america.

By Robert Carey, Director, Office of Refugee Resettlement
bob carey
Over 3 million refugees from more than 70 countries have been promised safe haven in the U.S. since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980. People fleeing persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion come to the U.S. seeking the possibility of a new beginning, and freedom from persecution and displacement. Over 90 percent of the refugees who come to the U.S. are families with children or couples.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) was established by the Refugee Act of 1980 to help refugees integrate into their new communities and become self-sufficient. ORR carries out this mission through an extensive public-private partnership network and funding to state governments and non-profit organizations.

In 38 states (including Washington DC), the state government manages the refugee resettlement program in cooperation with voluntary resettlement agency partners. Each year these states submit a plan outlining their resettlement activities and services for the coming year to ORR for approval and grant funding.

The Wilson-Fish program is an alternative to traditional state administered refugee resettlement programs. ORR currently funds 13 Wilson-Fish programs that operate throughout twelve States, plus San Diego County, California.

Both state and Wilson-Fish refugee resettlement programs focus on increasing refugee prospects for early employment and self-sufficiency through time limited cash and medical assistance and social services.

The Congress has tasked us with creating a path to survival and citizenship for people displaced by civil unrest, targeted persecution, and devastating loss. ORR focuses on helping refugees find employment soon after arriving and supplement their integration process with various social services as they seek a new life in our country. We value the support and partnership of states and our public-private partnership network to welcome and integrate newcomers into the fabric of our nation.


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Christopher Kemmett

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