NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Fewer Refugees Admitted To U.S. Following Sept. 11

October 30, 2002

Over the past year, the number of persons admitted to the United States under the federal refuge resettlement program has declined sharply due to heightened security and screening procedures.

  • The federal government had allocated slots for up to 70,000 refugees for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2001 -- but admitted 27,113.
  • In the previous year, 68,426 were admitted -- compared to a record 132,173 in 1992.
  • For this year, President Bush has approved a ceiling of 70,000 -- but designated just 50,000 slots for people from specific regions, holding the rest in reserve.
  • Slots that are not used in one year do not carry over into the next.

State Department officials -- who administer refuge resettlement in tandem with the Immigration and Naturalization Service -- suspended the resettlement program for two months after the Sept. 11 attacks to put new security measures in place. These included running applicants' names through intelligence and law enforcement data bases, fingerprinting applicants and setting up secure procedures for flying in new arrivals.

State has described to Congress a number of problems that have slowed refugee processing. They include "deteriorating security conditions in refugee camps, the inadequacy of medical facilities required to conduct thorough medical screenings, and concern about integrity, including fraud and corruption."

Source: Christopher Marquis, "Since Attacks, U.S. Admits Fewer Refugees," New York Times, October 30, 2002.


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