Who Are Refugees?

Refugees are ordinary people who are uprooted because of persecution related to their race, religion, politics or ethnicity. They are people who risked everything to escape persecution and death.

Although some refugees may eventually return home, many remain in dangerous situations for years. Some can never return home and need resettlement in the U.S. or another safe haven.

These refugees are interviewed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to determine their status. If they meet the criteria for refugees, they are referred to the U.S. (or another country) and are interviewed by a U.S. immigration officer.

Eventually after extensive background and medical checks, they may be invited into the United States through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

How many refugees does the U.S. settle each year?

Under 70,000 refugees (less than 1/2 of 1% of the world’s refugee population of 14 million) are settled in the U.S. each year.

Where do refugees in eastern NC come from?

It depends on the world situation – as conditions improve in a country, there are no longer citizens fleeing. Some situations are on-going for decades and so many people are still coming here from those areas. In the past, refugees came from war-torn ex-Yugoslavia, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Colombia, and Vietnam. Today refugees arrive from Iraq, Cuba, Colombia, Vietnam, and Burma.

Who pays for refugee travel expenses?

The International Organization for Migration arranges a travel loan and repayment plan for refugees.