Since 1975, more than 260,000 African refugees have been admitted to the United States for permanent resettlement. The largest groups have been Somali (nearly 95,000) and Ethiopian (over 45,000), but also included are Sudanese, Liberians, Congolese, Eritreans, Rwandans, Sierra Leoneans, and Burundians. In recent years, the program has grown more diverse both in terms of nationalities admitted to the United States and processing locations. In FY 2010, 13,305 refugees from 26 African countries were admitted to the United States.
Most refugees considered for U.S. resettlement from Africa are referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). A Regional Refugee Coordinator posted to the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya oversees refugee admissions in East and Southern Africa. At present, a program officer from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in Washington, D.C., covers Central and West Africa refugee admissions issues.
PRM has established a Resettlement Support Center (RSC) based in Nairobi, with a sub-office in Ndjamena, Chad, to coordinate refugee case preparation, post-adjudication processing, and cultural orientation in sub-Saharan Africa. The Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS) travels to conduct refugee adjudication interviews throughout the region. Transportation to the United States is arranged by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
FY 2011 Admissions Program
The FY 2011 ceiling for refugee arrivals from Africa is 15,000. We expect to continue to admit significant numbers of Somalis in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Africa; as well as Congolese in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa; Eritreans in Ethiopia and Sudan, and smaller numbers of Sudanese, Burundians, Ethiopians, Rwandans, Central African Republicans, Zimbabweans, and other nationalities. We also anticipate African refugee admissions from various locations in the Near East, including Yemen and Syria.
The Priority Three (P-3) family reunification component of the program has been temporarily suspended and is expected to resume later this year. New guidelines for eligibility and requirements for filing an Affidavit of Relationship will be available at that time.