The world is in the midst of the most severe refugee crisis in human history.

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More than 65 million people have been forced to leave their homes in search of safety for their families. Countries bordering regions in conflict have seen hundreds of thousands of people flooding over their borders. The nations of Europe are struggling to keep up with the social, economic and political challenges of so many newcomers needing employment, education and social services. 

The United States took in about 85,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2016 and set the cap for the following year at 110,000. However, the Trump administration's travel bans, suspension of resettlement and presidential determination capped the FY 2017 number of refugees to be moved into the United States at a record low of 45,000. The actual number of refugees resettled in the US in 2017 was less than 25,000.  

Source: United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

There are over 65.6 million forcibly displaced people in the world right now. More than 22 million are refugees. 

Who are refugees?

"A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so."

United Nations High Commission for Refugees

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Refugees enter the United States legally and with the right to enroll in school, get a job and eventually apply for US citizenship. Refugees are not asylum seekers or undocumented immigrants.


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Refugees do not choose their country of resettlement. They are faced with the task of setting up a home in the midst of a brand new culture, climate, language and political system with about six months of government support. 

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More than half of all refugees are under the age of 18, though globally children only make up about 31% of the population. 

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Many refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan arrive on Special Immigrant Visas (SIV), which are given to them because they have become threatened as a result of working for the US military or government in a hostile environment.

Resettlement in Texas

Texas accepted 7,803 refugees in 2016, the second highest in the country behind California.

The primary Texas cities of resettlement are Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and Amarillo.

Approximately 1,000 refugees arrived in Austin in 2016 hoping for a new home.

Refugees currently being resettled to Austin are primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Burma.

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