Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Iraqi Refugee Processing Fact Sheet: Part I

Updated by the USCIS on  June 3, 2011

U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is an inter-agency effort involving a number of governmental and non-governmental partners, both overseas and domestically, whose mission is to resettle refugees in the United States. The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) has overall management responsibility for the USRAP and has the lead in proposing admissions numbers and processing priorities.
Within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has responsibility for interviewing refugee applicants and adjudicating applications for refugee status. Through its cooperative agreements with Resettlement Support Centers (RSC) (formerly known as Overseas Processing Entities), PRM handles the intake of refugee referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), U.S. embassies, and certain non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as the prescreening of cases and the out-processing of individuals for travel to the United States.

Iraqi Refugee Processing

Part of the humanitarian mission of the USRAP is to provide resettlement opportunities to especially vulnerable Iraqi refugees. Since large-scale Iraqi refugee processing was announced in February 2007, DHS and DOS have worked cooperatively to increase the number of Iraqi refugees admitted to the United States as part of the worldwide commitment. DHS and DOS have worked closely to enhance processing capacity of Iraqi refugee applicants while ensuring the highest level of security. In support of these efforts, USCIS consistently deploys more than 45-50 officers per quarter to the Middle East to conduct refugee processing circuit rides. To date, USCIS has interviewed more than 101,000 Iraqi refugee applicants.
As a result of this collaboration, the USRAP admitted more than 58,000 Iraqi refugees since large-scale processing began in fiscal year 2007.
Since the inception of the program in 2007, 166,249 Iraqi nationals have been referred to the USRAP for resettlement to the United States. USCIS has interviewed 101,884 Iraqi refugee applicants; approved 84,435 for resettlement and, 58,810 Iraqi refugees have arrived in the United States.

Process for Resettlement

In identifying Iraqi cases for referral to the USRAP, UNHCR and DOS have been prioritizing 11 categories of especially vulnerable refugees, including individuals who are affiliated with the U.S. government and religious minorities, among others.
Iraqi refugees may gain access to this program through referrals from UNHCR, a U.S. Embassy, or certain NGOs. Iraqi nationals, who worked for the U.S. government, a U.S. contractor, or a U.S.-based media organization or NGO, and their family members, can apply directly to the USRAP in Jordan, Egypt and Iraq without a UNHCR referral. In addition, Iraqi applicants will be considered for resettlement if an eligible family member applies on their behalf in the United States. The vast majority of cases processed so far by the USRAP have been referrals from UNHCR.
USCIS officers are interviewing Iraqi refugee applicants primarily in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. Refugee processing in Iraq focuses on certain Iraqis who are associated with the U.S. and their family members.

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