REACH youth playing near a river
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THE REFUGEE
EXPERIENCE

REACH specifically engages youth who arrive to the U.S. as refugees and asylum seekers. 

WHO ARE REFUGEES.

As per the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were 26.4 million refugees and 4.1 million asylum seekers in 2020. On average, 37,000 people are forced to flee their homes because of danger per day. Nearly 42% of all refugees are minors under the age of 18

REACH engages youth who arrive as refugees and asylum seekers.

REFUGEE

A refugee is a person who has left his or her country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion. Refugees are able to automatically adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident status after one year in the United States. Refugees must register with the United Nations (UN) outside of the borders of their own country to become refugees.

ASYLUM SEEKER

An asylum seeker is a person seeking refuge in another country because of these same threats, but is yet to have their refugee status legally recognized.  International law recognizes the right to seek asylum, but does not oblige states to provide it.  Asylum Seekers must ask for protection directly from within the country, or border of the country, where they hope to remain. Once granted asylum status, most are eligible for the same services as refugees.

2020 AT-A-GLANCE.

82.4
Million

Displaced

26.4
Million

Refugees

4.1
Million

Asylum

Seekers

48
Million

Internally

Displaced

Persons

Source: UNHCR Global Trends, 18 June 2021

MAJOR SOURCE COUNTRIES OF REFUGEES IN 2020.

Afghanistan

Central African Republic

 

Democratic Republic of

Congo

Eritrea

Myanmar/Burma

Somalia

South Sudan

Sudan

Syria

Venezuela

Source: UNHCR Refugee Data Finder, 2020

THREE PATHWAYS FOR REFUGEES.

There are three internationally accepted durable solutions for refugees. The UN prioritizes 1 and 2. Less than 1% of refugees are resettled annually across the globe.

1. Voluntary

    Repatriation

Refugees return to their former country of nationality when conditions are deemed safe.

2. Local

     Integration

Refugees remain in the country to which they first fled after receiving agreement from the host country.

3. Resettlement

Refugees are resettled to a third country when they cannot safely return to their home country and when their life, liberty, safety, health or human rights are at risk in the country to which they first fled. Resettlement becomes the priority when there is no other way to guarantee the legal or physical security of the refugee.

RESETTLEMENT IN THE U.S.

Once the UNHCR has referred a refugee to the U.S. for resettlement, a comprehensive vetting process begins. The U.S. decides whether or not to accept the refugee for resettlement.

Historically, the United States has been a champion for refugees; resettling 3,460,352 refugees since 1975.

The U.S. resettled refugees from 90+ countries in the past five years. The majority of those admitted came from Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Ukraine.

“We all must stand together and recommit to building a more inclusive and welcoming America. That’s how we will restore the soul of our nation.”

-President Joe Biden,

June 20, 2020

HOW ARE REFUGEES PROCESSED?

To be admitted to the U.S., refugees go through several rounds of background checks, screenings and interviews under the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).

Prescreen Interview

One of 9 Refugee Support Centers (RSC) initiates biographic checks.

Formal Interview

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services  assesses eligibility and collects biometric data (fingerprints, iris, and facial features).

Security Vetting

Multiple federal intelligence agencies conduct biometric security checks.

Medical Screenings

Physicians contracted by the RSC screen for contagious diseases and medical needs.

Cultural Orientation

The RSC provides approximately 30 hours of cultural orientation training  prior to departure.

Travel Arrangements

The International Organization for Migration coordinates travel and provides no-interest travel loans.

Resettle-

ment

One of 9 National Voluntary Agencies place the refugee with a local partner, which provides basic services such as food, clothing, housing, school enrollment, English language training, and job placement.

Pre-Interview

Process

3-5 Months

Status Determination

Interviews

3-24 Months

VETTING TIMELINE.

Average Processing Time is

18-36 Months

Cultural Orientation & Medical Screenings

2-3 Months

Post-Acceptance & Travel Processing

2-4 Months

The Department of State Screens the Refugee to Determine Eligibility for Resettlement

Prescreen Interview

One of 9 Refugee Support Centers (RSC) initiates biographic checks

Formal Interview

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services  assesses eligibility and collects biometric data (fingerprints, iris, and facial features)

Security Vetting

Multiple federal intelligence agencies conduct biometric security checks

Medical Screenings

Physicians contracted by the RSC screen for contagious diseases and medical needs

Cultural Orientation

The RSC provides approximately 30 hours of cultural orientation training  prior to departure 

Travel Arrange-ments

The International Organization for Migration coordinates travel and provides no-interest travel loans

Resettlement

One of 9 National Voluntary Agencies place the refugee with a local partner, which provides basic services such as food, clothing, housing, school enrollment, English language training, and job placement

The Department of Homeland Security Approves or Denies Resettlement After Security Checks

The Refugee Receives a Travel Loan, which Must be Repaid

Once Resettled, the Refugee is Expected to be on the Path to Self-Sufficiency within 90 days

<< Hover over each step to learn more.