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Refugee Admissions

U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

Refugee resettlement is a durable solution for individuals with humanitarian protection needs who have left their country due to persecution on account of a protected ground, cannot safely return home, and require permanent resettlement to a third country because they are unable to remain in the country where they currently reside.

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) accepts referrals for refugees determined to be particularly vulnerable and in need of the protection provided by third-country resettlement. The program provides a pathway for resettlement to the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA defines a refugee as an individual who is outside their country of nationality, or if no nationality, their last habitual residence, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unwilling or unable to avail themselves of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

We are committed to protecting those with specific needs, including women and girls, children, older persons, members of ethnic and religious minority groups, LGBTQI+ persons, persons with disabilities, stateless persons, human rights activists and dissidents, and others who may warrant permanent refugee resettlement through the USRAP.

President Biden affirmed the United States’ commitment to welcoming refugees by maintaining the total admissions ceiling in FY 2024 Presidential Determinations on Refugee Admissions (PD 2023-13) at 125,000, the same target President Biden established since FY 2022 and the highest target in several decades. His decision reflects the United States’ long-standing leadership on refugee resettlement in the face of an unprecedented global displacement crisis as record numbers of people around the world have been forced to flee war, persecution, and instability.

Nearly 110 million people are now forcibly displaced, more than at any other time in history. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 2.4 million refugees are now in need of protection through third-country resettlement. For these refugees, resettlement in the United States represents the opportunity to start anew to pursue a life of safety and dignity without fear of violence or persecution.

The USRAP reflects our history as a nation welcoming of immigrants, exemplifying a U.S. values-based foreign policy and serving as a beacon of hope for persecuted people around the world. It is an important, enduring, and ongoing expression of our commitment to international humanitarian principles to save lives and alleviate human suffering as well as of our commitment to human rights, including freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression. Critically, it remains a powerful demonstration of the United States’ continued solidarity with refugees and the countries hosting them.

The USRAP is a vital foreign policy tool that advances U.S. interests and national security objectives, including rebuilding a system that promotes safe, orderly, and humane lawful immigration. Alongside robust humanitarian aid and diplomacy, resettlement helps promote stability in regions experiencing crisis, demonstrates U.S. responsibility-sharing with affected countries, and facilitates U.S. negotiations on improved humanitarian conditions with host countries – such as granting access to legal work, education, and lawful status for the vast majority of refugees who remain in countries of first asylum and will never be resettled. Cooperation among U.S. government agencies, U.S. states and localities, private resettlement partners, the American public, foreign governments, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) make the USRAP possible.

Since the passage of the Refugee Act in 1980, the United States has admitted more than 3.2 million refugees.

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