Former Residents of the Soviet Union in Minnesota

FSU-FlagRefugees from the former Soviet Union came to the U.S. through the Lautenberg Amendment, a provision under the 1990 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. This program has closed to new applications, however, cases that had been previously approved under the program are still arriving.

The Lautenberg Amendment gave refugee status to citizens of the former Soviet Union belonging to certain religious groups which had been persecuted by the Communist government.  The categories protected by the U.S. include Jews, Evangelical Christians, Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox Christians who have immediate family members lawfully residing in the United States. To come to the U.S. as a refugee under this agreement, one must prove that he or she is a member of one of these protected categories but does not need to prove well-founded fear of persecution as an individual.

Refugees resettling in Minnesota under the Lautenberg Amendment most commonly come from the countries of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine.  These Russian-speaking refugees are reuniting with their family members, many of whom are well established in the west metro area.

Important Facts:
• The Russian-speaking community in Minnesota has grown to over 12,500
•  the Lautenberg Amendment was  extended to October 2013

For more info on migration from the former FSU, read:

Refugees Magazine Issue 98 After the Soviet Union