Since 1975, more than 1.3 million refugees from Asia have been resettled in the United States - either from first asylum countries or through in-country processing. More than 900,000 were Vietnamese, but the U.S. has also resettled significant numbers of Highland and Lowland Lao and Khmer. The U.S. has resettled more than 100,000 refugees representing some 34 nationalities from the region since 2005. In FY2012, 14,366 refugees from eight countries in East Asia were admitted to the United States.
A Regional Refugee Coordinator posted to Embassy Bangkok oversees refugee admissions from East Asia. Most refugees considered for U.S. resettlement from East Asia are referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). PRM has established a Resettlement Support Center based in Bangkok, with a sub-office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to coordinate refugee case preparation, post-adjudication processing, and cultural orientation in East Asia. The Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS) conducts regular refugee adjudication “circuit rides” throughout the region. Transportation to the United States is arranged by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The U.S. remains concerned about the plight of North Korean refugees. Since 2004, the U.S. government has worked closely with UNHCR, governments in the region, and NGOs to offer U.S. resettlement interviews to eligible North Koreans who express interest in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
FY 2013 Admissions Program
The FY 2013 ceiling for refugee arrivals from East Asia is 18,000. The U.S. expects to admit up to 17,500 ethnic minority refugees from Burma living in Malaysia and Thailand, with the remaining refugees representing a wide range of various nationalities.