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Refugee Admissions

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How many refugees are resettled in the United States?

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a refugee is an alien who, generally, has experienced past persecution or has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  Individuals who meet this definition may be considered for either refugee status under Section 207 of the INA if they are outside the United States, or asylum status under Section 208 of the INA, if they are already in the United States.

Since the passage of the Refugee Act in 1980, which incorporated this definition of refugee into the INA, the United States has admitted more than 3 million refugees and granted asylum status to over 721,000 individuals.

On September 30, the Department of State, together with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services, submitted the President’s Report to Congress on the Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2021.  Following consultation with Congress, the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions will be issued by the White House.

The United States anticipates receiving more than 300,000 new refugees and asylum claims in Fiscal Year 2021.  Of that number, up to 15,000 would be refugees admitted through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and more than 290,000 would be individuals in new asylum cases.

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U.S. Department of State

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