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Lesson 6: Refugees and Asylum Seekers

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1 Lesson 6: Refugees and Asylum Seekers

2 Refugees and Asylees Leave their countries because they fear being killed or hurt because of their: Nationality Race Religion Political opinion Membership in a particular social group

3 Example of social groups protected under U.S. law:
Women in cases of domestic violence Tribal or clan associations Lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals HIV+ individuals

4 The U.S. extends protection to them as a reflection of its commitment to political and religious liberty and racial tolerance.

5 Who are they? Refugees apply for their status while they are still outside the United States. Asylum seekers apply once they are in the United States. Both must prove that they fear persecution in their home country such as torture, imprisonment, or physical abuse.

6 On average, 12% of legal immigrants to the United States in the past decade were either refugees or asylum seekers.

7 The Refugee Journey Rolling Stone

8 Refugee Resettlement Only 1% of refugees are resettled in a third country Refugees are matched to resettlement country based on: Family ties Trade skills Professional abilities Language Countries with refugee resettlement programs: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and the U.S.

9 Refugee Status: Constraints
The U.S. caps the number of refugees it will accept annually. The U.S. only accepts refugees: who have been referred to the U.S. by the UNHCR or another refugee protection organization, or the person is a member of a designated group or from a designated country.

10 Examples from 2011 The U.S. had a maximum resettlement cap of 80,000 refugees. The U.S. accepted applications from Burmese minorities living in Thailand or Malaysia, among others. Note: People who belong to these groups still had to prove their qualification as refugees

11 Top host countries for refugees (2009)
Pakistan (1,740,700) Iran (1,1070,500) Syria (1,054,500) Germany (593,800) Jordan (450,800) 9. United States (275,500) Afghan refugee kids, Munda Camp, Pakistan

12 Top Five Countries of Origin for Refugees (2010)
Iraq (18,016) Burma (16,693) Bhutan (12,363) Somalia (4,884) Cuba (4,818)


14 The Application Process: Refugees
Working with a non-governmental agency overseas Interview: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services then interviews each refugee to verify that they have a legitimate claim Background security checks and Health screening: Provided by the U.S. government

15 Once admitted… The U.S. government provides:
A cultural orientation Cash grants (during their first 90 days) Medical care (for their first 8 months) A private voluntary agency provides: Initial settlement services Loans (to be repaid within 6 months)

16 Top Five Countries of Origin for Asylees (2010)
China (6,683) Ethiopia (1,093) Haiti (832) Venezuela (660) Nepal (640)


18 The Application Process for Asylum Seekers:
Asylum seekers can file an application within a year of arriving in the U.S, or they can file it “defensively,” once they are in deportation proceedings. Anyone in the U.S. can claim asylum whether they are here legally or not.

19 Application being processed…
Affirmative Cases Defensive Cases Asylum Officer Once someone has gone through all appeals without being granted asylum, that person can’t usually reapply. If denied Asylum granted! Immigration Judge If denied Asylum granted! Repeal or Removed

20 Once granted an asylum... Asylees are eligible for many of the same benefits as refugees, including: short-term cash assistance; certain social services (if they meet the same eligibility as legal residents). The U.S. government also funds torture treatment centers for victims of torture.

21 Questions? Comments?

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