Publication Date

6-21-2017

Abstract

[Excerpt] The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), which is managed by the Department of State (DOS), resettles refugees from around the world in the United States. Once a refugee case is approved for U.S. resettlement, the USRAP determines where in the country the refugee(s) will be resettled. This determination is made through DOS’s Reception and Placement Program (R&P), which provides initial resettlement services to arriving refugees. R&P initial resettlement assistance is separate from longer-term resettlement assistance provided through the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

Each year, DOS’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) requests proposals from public and private nonprofit organizations that are interested in providing services and assistance to refugees under the R&P Program. It then enters into a cooperative agreement with each successful applicant. The organizations, sometimes referred to as voluntary agencies, maintain nationwide networks of local affiliates to provide services to refugees. The services include pre-arrival services (e.g., placement); reception on arrival in the United States; basic needs support (e.g., housing, furnishings, food, and clothing) for at least 30 days; and help accessing health, employment, education, and other services, as needed. Funding comes from the R&P Program and contributions from other sources.

Decisions about which R&P agencies will resettle particular approved refugee cases are made at weekly meetings in which representatives of the resettlement agencies review biographic and other information about incoming refugees. As part of the “sponsorship assurance” process, an agency agrees to assume responsibility for a refugee case and provide required R&P services. Once refugees are in the United States, however, they do not have to remain in their initial placement area. They can relocate at any time.

The R&P Program is subject to a set of statutory requirements. Regarding the placement process, the ORR director and the agency administering the R&P Program are required to consult regularly with state and local governments and resettlement agencies about the intended distribution of refugees among the states and localities. The agency administering the R&P Program is further required to consider the recommendations of the state in determining where to place refugees within a state.

As of May 31, 2017, in FY2017, refugee arrivals have been placed in the District of Columbia and every state except Wyoming. In FY2016, the only states with no refugee placements were Delaware and Hawaii.

Comments

Suggested Citation
Bruno, A. (2017). Reception and placement of refugees in the United States (CRS Report R44878). Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.

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