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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Refugee Admissions Program for Europe and Central Asia


Fact Sheet
Washington, DC
December 19, 2012

   
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Background

Since 1975, the U.S. has resettled over 900,000 refugees from Europe and Central Asia. Approximately two-thirds of this number has come from the countries of the former Soviet Union, and the balance from other parts of Europe. Since 1989, the U.S. has admitted more than 440,000 refugees. The majority of these cases are adjudicated under the interview standard established by the Lautenberg Amendment, which applies to members of specified religious minorities (Jews, Evangelicals, and certain members of the Ukrainian Catholic or Ukrainian Orthodox Churches) from the countries of the former Soviet Union. In FY 2012, the U.S. admitted 1076 refugees from 10 countries in Europe and Central Asia, including those under the Lautenberg Amendment in-country program. The U.S. admitted 1980 refugees out of the region including non-Europeans and non-Central Asians. The Lautenberg Amendment was enacted on November 21, 1989 as Sec, 599D of the FY 1990 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (P.L. 101-167).

A Regional Refugee Coordinator posted to the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, Austria oversees refugee admissions from the region for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). PRM has established a Resettlement Support Center (RSC) based in Moscow to coordinate refugee case preparation, post-adjudication processing, and cultural orientation in Europe. Officers of the Department of Homeland Security/ U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS), also based in Moscow, travel to conduct refugee adjudication interviews throughout the region. Transportation to the United States is arranged by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The U.S. has made use of Emergency Transit Centers (ETCs) established by UNHCR in Romania, Slovakia and the Philippines. The ETCs in Humenne, Slovakia, and Timisoara, Romania, were set up in 2009 and provide temporary placement, for up to six months, of those refugees with protection concerns in the country where they first sought refuge or where UNHCR, RSC and/or USCIS don’t have access. ETC Humenne can hold up to 150 people on one of its three-building premises, and ETC Timisoara, Romania, can hold up to 200 people. The centers are an important protection tool, allowing vulnerable refugees to be moved from insecure or otherwise challenging circumstances to safe locations, and allowing the U.S. to access resettlement applicants for interviews, medical screening, and other required processing. The U.S. Government continues to provide policy and diplomatic support for both ETCs, which are also used by other resettlement countries as part of our effort to promote greater responsibility sharing for resettlement among other nations.

 

FY 2013 Admissions Program

The FY 2013 ceiling for Europe is 2,000. In addition to continued processing of Lautenberg Amendment cases (primarily in Russia and Ukraine), we will continue to accept referrals from NGOs and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) throughout the region. In FY 2012, 3709 applicants were processed in Baku, Bishkek, Chisinau, Frankfurt, Humenne, Valletta, Moscow, and Timisoara.




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