Who Are Refugees?

Refugees: Ali Flaih
Home has been an elusive thing for Ali Flaih, here with his wife, Siti Hujemah Emma. Photo: Indonesia, Annie Griffiths for CWS

Refugees are people who have been driven from their home countries by persecution and armed conflict.  According to the UNHCR, there are 15.5 million refugees throughout the world in need of protection and assistance.

Some eventually return home; others get stuck for decades – even a lifetime – in refugee camps where conditions are harsh and often dangerous.  Increasing numbers are seeking to eke out a living in cities in their country of refuge.  Fewer than one percent get the chance to resettle to a third country, such as the United States.

To welcome the most vulnerable is a core principle of our nation.  CWS is a key partner in the bipartisan U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, a public-private partnership to ensure that refugees are properly resettled, adjust to their new homes and achieve early self-sufficiency.

As one of the nine U.S. national voluntary agencies in the refugee program, CWS helps some 8,000 new refugee arrivals and Cuban and Haitian entrants integrate into communities across the United States each year.  Since 1946, CWS has resettled more than 800,000 refugees and entrants.

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