Ten Facts About U.S. Refugee Resettlement
The United States, which runs the world's largest refugee resettlement program, is being called upon to welcome more Syrian refugees as Europe struggles to absorb huge flows of asylum seekers and migrants from Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and elsewhere. As of October 2015, the United States had resettled approximately 2,000 Syrian refugees since the start of civil war in Syria in 2011.
Responding to these calls, the Obama administration has announced its intention to raise the annual ceiling on U.S. refugee admissions to 85,000 for the fiscal year that began October 1, 2015 and to 100,000 the following year, up from 70,000 for the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2015. These policy choices have touched off intense discussions about the capacity of the United States to help respond to growing humanitarian protection needs.
As policymakers address these questions, it is worth reviewing some key facts about refugee resettlement in the United States that have often been overlooked in current debates. This fact sheet, drawn from recent Migration Policy Institute (MPI) research, analysis of U.S. government policies, and other sources, covers key questions such as refugee benefits use, employment, and educational attainment; the screening that would-be refugees have to go through before admission; and the likely integration picture for Syrian refugees.