A Syrian refugee boy sits on top of his family’s belonging while waiting to leave Zaatari refugee camp, in Mafraq, Jordan (AP Photo)

Refugee Admissions: An Overview

By: Simon Henshaw, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Populations, Refugees, and Migration.

There are nearly 20 million refugees, with a total of more than 60 million people displaced from their homes, and their lives, by conflicts across the globe. The United Nations estimates that more than four million people are now refugees as a result of the conflict in Syria alone. This is in addition to the nearly 7.6 million people who are internally displaced in Syria, and more than 12 million people who remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

The United States has played a leading role in addressing this humanitarian crisis by providing more than $4.5 billion in financial assistance since the beginning of the conflict to relief agencies and others who are trying to meet the needs of those who are fleeing violence in Syria. Our aid provides food, shelter, healthcare, and education to millions of people across the region, and we are proud to be the largest single country donor to address these continuing humanitarian needs.

We devote much of our humanitarian aid to caring for refugees in the nations to which they have fled because our hope is that most refugees can return home after the conflicts that have forced them from their countries have ended.

But for those refugees who are the most vulnerable — less than one percent of all refugees worldwide — there is another solution. Resettlement.

This is why one element of our response to the humanitarian crises around the globe will be to admit additional refugees into the United States — including more refugees from the conflict in Syria. As Secretary of U.S. State John Kerry explained, “…the United States will significantly increase our numbers for refugee resettlement in the course of this next year and the year after. Last year… we were at 70,000. We are now going to go up to 85,000 with at least, and I underscore the ‘at least’ — it is not a ceiling, it’s a floor — 10,000 over the next year from Syria specifically, even as we also receive more refugees from other areas. And in the next fiscal year, we’ll target 100,000, and if it’s possible to do more, we’ll do more.” This announcement underscores the best tradition of America as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope and is consistent with our proud history as a nation of immigrants.

But how does this happen? How do refugees find a new home in the United States? Click here to learn more. And for a quick snapshot, take a look at the graphic below about the United States Refugee Admission Program (USRAP).

This blog entry originally appeared on DipNote, the U.S. Department of State’s Official blog.