Congrats on finishing Beautiful Day’s quiz about refugee resettlement in the United States!
We hope you learned something new, and that you enjoy your next order of granola and coffee from Beautiful Day. What’s next? Americans are increasingly divided over whether the U.S. should accept refugees, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Just as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to exacerbate our global refugee crisis, in September of 2020, the U.S. Department of State once again cut its annual refugee admissions quota to a record low level. So, here’s a complete guide to our refugee quiz so that you can share with your friends just how important it is that we do our part to welcome and resettle displaced communities.
Question 1: Under which president did the United States pass its first comprehensive bill to welcome and resettle refugees?
- Jimmy Carter
- Barack Obama
- Ronald Reagan
A few months into his presidency, Ronald Reagan issued a “Statement on United States Immigration and Refugee Policy” in which he outlined his goals to continue America’s tradition of welcoming people from other countries, especially those fleeing oppression. He called for the millions of undocumented “illegal immigrants” present in the country to be given recognition and a path to legal status.
On Nov. 6, 1986 Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the most far-reaching immigration law passed during his presidency. The Act’s most significant effect was that it allowed immigrants who had entered the U.S. illegally before Jan. 1, 1982 to apply for legal status. This provision — which Reagan himself referred to as “amnesty,” allowed around 3 million immigrants to secure legal status.
Question 2: How many refugees did the Obama Administration authorize the Department of Homeland Security to resettle during fiscal year 2016?
At the 2016 UN Leadership Summit on Refugees, then President Obama announced his target to admit 110,000 refugees into the United States. His decision, which represented a 60% increase over 2015, was lauded by global leaders for taking decisive action in the face of growing humanitarian disasters in Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia, as well as the heavy burden on countries like Turkey, Pakistan, and Ethiopia that were hosting the majority of worldwide refugees.
We highly recommend watching President Obama’s Opening Remarks at the Leadership Summit HERE. His words remain needing to be heard, now more than ever.
Question 3: On average, how long does it take for the US to screen and approve a refugee's request for resettlement?
- 2 months
- 1 year
- 2 years
While the total processing time varies depending on an applicant’s location as well as other circumstances and policy changes, the vetting time – from the refugee’s initial UNHCR referral to his or her arrival in the U.S. –has averaged approximately 18 to 24 months in recent years. Given recent developments, the length of the wait will likely increase.
If you’re interested in learning more about the U.S. Refugee resettlement process and policy, we recommend you check out THIS white paper from the American Immigration Council. They’re a great organization, with a mission “to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring.
Question 4: About how many refugees did the Trump administration admit into the United States during fiscal year 2020?
According to the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the Refugee Processing Center admitted 9,188 individual refugees from October 1st, 2019 to August 31st, 2020. On October 1st of 2020, the Trump Administration restricted the total number of refugees permitted to enter the United States to 15,000, the lowest refugee allotment ever set in U.S. history.
Question 5: From what country does the U.S. resettle the greatest number of refugees?
- Democratic Republic of Congo
In 2018, the US admitted 7,878 Congolese refugees. That represents 35% of its total arrivals. Between October of 2017 and September 2019 alone, over 5 million from the DRC were displaced. According to the UN Refugee Agency:
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a complex and challenging humanitarian situation, with multiple conflicts affecting several parts of its vast territory. Hopes soared after a long and costly civil war was brought to an end in 2003, but the nation has instead seen sporadic waves of fighting – especially in the Eastern parts of the country. Since 2016, a new wave of violence also affected the DRC’s Kasai region, a vast area in the south and center of the country.”
Question 6: True or False: Cities with higher refugee and immigrant populations are more likely to be ridden with crime and violence.