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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How Many Refugees the U.S. Takes In and Where They Go - This year’s number would include 10,000 Syrians

From TheWall Street Journal:
 
The U.S. government accepts thousands of refugees each year and provides cash, medical and rental assistance to them through nine nonprofit resettlement agencies.

The number of refugees accepted, which is set annually by the president, reached a peak of 142,000 during the Balkan wars in 1993.

It was 80,000 between 2008 and 2011, dropped to 76,000 in 2012 and has been at 70,000 since 2013.

This fiscal year, the U.S. plans to accept 85,000, including 10,000 Syrians. That is a fraction of the more than four million Syrians displaced by war since 2011.

Most refugees are referred to the U.S. by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The screening process—involving the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department and Defense Department—is more rigorous than that for the millions of foreign visitors and thousands of foreign students who come to the U.S. each year, advocates say.

For Syrians, the vetting period on average has taken 18 to 24 months.

Since October 2011, California has received the most Syrian refugees, 257, followed by Texas, with 240, and Michigan, with 210, according to the State Department.

Resettlement agencies place the arrivals in clusters in areas where the cost of living is low and jobs are available, or where they already have family.

“All Syrian refugees who do have ties in the U.S. are placed with their tie,” said Lindsey Sharp, associate director of resettlement for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.

However, most Syrians who have arrived so far don’t have relatives in the U.S., agencies said. Still, some of these newcomers are happy to be safe in the U.S. and are working to adjust to life in a new country.

Ramez Aldarwish, 37 years old, arrived with his wife, Nor, and their two young children in New Haven, Conn., in August.

In Syria, gunfire and rocket attacks were erupting at night, leaving the family in a state of terror, Mr. Aldarwish said.

“They were bombing people, innocent people, women, children and kids,” he said.

Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services in New Haven helps secure benefits for the family, but that assistance eventually will end.

Mr. Aldarwish, who only speaks Arabic, was concerned about finding work, but he recently got a part-time job as a butcher.

While he is still concerned about supporting his family in America, he has faith.

“We depend on God,” Mr. Aldarwish said. “God will help.”

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