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U.S. Department of State

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Washington, DC
November 19, 2002

Refugee Admissions Program for Africa


Since 1980, over 125,000 African refugees have been admitted to the U.S. for permanent resettlement. Most were Ethiopian (over 35,000) or Somali (over 40,000), but the number also includes Sudanese, Liberians, Zairians, Rwandans, Ugandans, and Angolans. In recent years, the program has grown more diverse both in terms of nationalities admitted to the U.S. and processing locations. In FY 2002, refugees from over 25 African countries were admitted to the U.S.

The majority of refugee admissions processing in Africa are coordinated by the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, with the assistance of a Joint Voluntary Agency (JVA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and by the U.S. Embassy in Accra with the assistance of an Overseas Processing Entity and the International Organization for Migration. Processing in sub-Saharan Africa takes place during circuit rides originating at our two regional centers in Accra and Nairobi and calls for careful coordination among the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (identification of refugees and processing and logistical support on site), JVA (case preparation), INS (adjudication), and IOM (post-adjudication processing and travel arrangements).

The U.S. program also processes African refugees in Cairo, and since FY 1999 this element of the program has expanded significantly, primarily to address the needs of African refugees in Egypt.

FY 2003 Admissions Program

The U.S. admissions program for FY 2003 includes a ceiling of 20,000 admissions from Africa. Security measures implemented after the terrorist attack of September 11 have had an impact on the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. in FY 2002, but increased arrivals are expected in 2003 due to improved application of these new measures. All of the partners in the U.S. Refugee Program are working together to process the greatest possible number of refugees for admission by the end of the fiscal year. Refugees of any nationality in Africa are eligible for consideration if UNHCR or a U.S. Embassy refers them to the program, either individually or as groups, as in need of third country resettlement. The U.S. also identifies and designates as eligible for resettlement processing specific groups of special humanitarian concern to the U.S. Such groups are defined in concert with the UNHCR, INS, NGOs, and other experts.

The family reunification element of the Africa program for FY 2003 applies to spouses, unmarried sons and daughters, and parents of persons who are legal residents of the U.S. and who are nationals of the following countries: , Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of the Congolese (DROC), and Sudan. For these cases, a qualified relative in the U.S. files an affidavit with one of the affiliate offices of participating resettlement organizations that triggers resettlement consideration for the family members.


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