November 28, 2012

CWS resettles 5,871 refugees in FY 2012

Collecting firewood
Women carrying firewood in Kiziba refugee camp, Rwanda. The scarcity of natural resources in the camp forces Congolese refugee women and girls into neighboring areas in search of firewood, which increases their risk of sexual- and gender-based violence. An increased number of Congolese refugees are expected to resettle to the U.S. in 2013, giving protection to men, women and children who have been forcibly displaced since the late 1990s and who cannot return home because of the ongoing conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: Andrew Fuys

New York City –- In FY 2012 (Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 2012), Church World Service resettled 5,871 refugees toward a U.S. Refugee Admissions Program total of 58,238.

“Those numbers represent a chance at life for some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Erol Kekic, Director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program, New York.  “We are glad to be a part of that.”

As in the past three years, the top nationalities of refugees CWS resettled to the United States in FY 2012 were refugees from Burma, Bhutan, and Iraqi.  Here is CWS’s FY 2012 “top 10.”

1.  Ethnic Nepalis from Bhutan (1,784).
2.  Refugees from Burma (1,709 total).
3.  Iraqis (1,159), including entrants with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs).
4.  Somalis (356).
5.  Cubans (180).
6.  Iranians (143).
7.  Congolese from Democratic Republic of Congo (140).
8.  Refugees from the Former Soviet Union (95).
9.  Eritreans (91).
10. Ethiopians (58).

CWS also resettled smaller numbers from each of 13 other nationalities.

CWS resettled these refugees through a network of 36 offices and affiliates in 21 states, with support and participation from seven U.S. denominations/communions. Those affiliates receiving the most refugees for resettlement from CWS in FY 2012 were:

1.  Indianapolis, Ind. (354).
2.  Columbus, Ohio (344).
3.  Lancaster, Pa. (273).
4.  Rochester, N.Y. (268).
5.  Atlanta, Ga. (258).
6.  Denver, Colo. (256).
7.  Syracuse, N.Y. (247).
8.  Phoenix, Ariz. (246).
9.  Grand Rapids, Mich. (239).
10. Houston, Texas (222).

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 15.5 million refugees and people in refugee-like situations throughout the world in need of protection and assistance.  Of those, UNHCR estimates more than 800,000 urgently need resettlement.

Most refugees considered by the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program are UNHCR referrals.  Close family members of refugees and asylees who have already resettled in the United States also may be considered, on a limited basis.  All candidates face a long series of interviews, screenings and security checks.

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is proposing a 70,000 ceiling for refugee admissions for FY 2013 (Oct. 1, 2012-Sept. 30, 2013).  The U.S. government forecasts admitting close to this figure in FY 2013.

The 70,000 includes up to 17,000 from East Asia, 2,000 from Europe and Central Asia, 5,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 31,000 from the Near East and South Asia, and 12,000 out of Africa.  (An unallocated reserve of 3,000 completes the total.)

The 12,000 from Africa include a projected 10,000 from sub-Saharan Africa – primarily from Somalia, Eritrea and an anticipated 2,000 from the Democratic Republic of Congo – whose cases would be processed by the CWS-administered Resettlement Support Center Africa (RSC Africa), based in Nairobi, Kenya.

CWS Resettlement Support Center Africa

CWS operates RSC Africa under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. government.  RSCs are tasked with assisting persons seeking or suggested for admission to the United States under the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).

RSC Africa covers 44 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  In FY 2012, RSC Africa staff conducted case processing activities in 31 countries.  This includes interviewing applicants to determine their family histories and to obtain other relevant information needed by the U.S. government to determine applicants’ eligibility for admission to the United States as refugees.

RSC Africa coordinated the departure of 8,006 refugees to the United States in FY 2012 for resettlement by CWS and the eight other national resettlement agencies that are part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

This marked a 25 percent increase over arrivals in FY 2011 when 6,387 refugees arrived in the U.S. through RSC Africa.

In addition, RSC Africa provides overseas cultural orientation to refugees who are approved for resettlement to the United States – 6,789 people in FY 2012.

CWS has conducted overseas case processing in sub-Saharan Africa since 1990, and through this work has helped more than 200,000 refugees throughout Africa begin new lives in the United States.

CWS Cuban-Haitian Entrant Program

In FY 2012, CWS also served 8,389 Cuban entrants through its Cuban Haitian Entrant Program (CHEP).  6,562 received cultural and community orientation; 1,190 were reunited with their families in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, and 637 without sponsors in Florida were helped to resettle to five other cities.

The Cuban Haitian Entrant Program is a federal program administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USCIS/DHS).

CHEP’s purpose is to provide orderly and structured reception, processing, and resettlement services to Cuban and Haitian entrants and to assist them attain self-sufficiency by facilitating primary and secondary resettlement services.  Since the program was established it has dealt with migrations such as the Cuban freedom flights, Camarioca Exodus, Mariel Boat Lift, Cuban Guantanamo Crisis and the Haitian Boat People.

CWS is a global humanitarian agency working to eradicate hunger and poverty.  It supports sustainable grassroots development, helps communities respond to disasters, protects refugees and other forcibly displaced people, and promotes public policies that contribute to building a world where there is enough for all.  CWS has helped some 800,000 refugees and Cuban and Haitian entrants resettle and integrate into U.S. communities since it was founded in 1946.

For more information, visit www.churchworldservice.org/refugees