Refugees: Understanding the immigration status of refugees

Individuals and families who flee their homes because of persecution, famine, or war are classified by the UN as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). However, if they manage to escape their country and enter another country, they become "refugees" and are protected by international law. These families and individuals often seek shelter in refugee camps where they are required to complete paperwork with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in order to be officially recognized as a refugee. They will have to wait, six years or more, to be resettled after their application is approved. The main countries participating in the refugee resettlement program include: the United States, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway, and New Zealand. World-wide there are approximately 24.5 million IDP in 52 countries and 9.9 million refugees.

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