As a country, we have made a long-term commitment to resettling refugees in the U.S. That commitment is seen both in the numbers we receive and in the legal status provided to arriving refugees. All refugees in the U.S. have legal residency status and permission to work upon their arrival.
The United States Refugee Resettlement Program is a critical humanitarian undertaking that “demonstrates the compassion of Americans for the world’s most vulnerable people” and “enjoys broad support from U.S. citizens and Congress because it is a life-saving program that creates great opportunities for refugees to renew their lives and futures in the United States” (From: Proposed Refugee Admissions For Fiscal Year 2009 – REPORT TO THE CONGRESS)
The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is an important component of the United States’ overall effort in support of refugees. U.S. resettlement should always be available to refugees in greatest need, regardless of their location, national origin, health status, or level of educational attainment.
While starting a new life in the U.S. is not without challenges, the assistance provided to these newcomers by average Americans makes a significant difference in hastening their integration into a new society. Once on their feet, refugees add to the vitality and diversity of this country by making substantial contributions to our economic and cultural life.
There are currently three priorities or categories of cases that have access to the USRAP:
Priority 1 – Individual cases referred to the program by virtue of their circumstances and apparent need for resettlement;
Priority 2 – Groups of cases designated as having access to the program by virtue of their circumstances and apparent need for resettlement; in FY 2013-2014:
- Former Soviet Union – applies to Jews, Evangelical Christians, and Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox religious
- Cuba – applies to human rights activists, members of persecuted religious minorities, former political prisoners, forced-labor conscripts,
- Iraqis Associated with the United States
- Ethnic Minorities and others from Burma in camps in Thailand
- Ethnic Minorities and others from Burma in Malaysia
- Bhutanese in Nepal
- Iranian and Iraqi Religious Minorities
- Eritreans in Shimelba Camp
Priority 3 – Individual cases from eligible nationalities granted access for purposes of reunification with anchor family members already in the United States.
All arriving refugees are resettled through a Voluntary Agency that has a contract with the federal government to provide basic services for refugees during the first 90 days in the U.S. Arrive Ministries is one of the voluntary agencies located in the Twin Cities.