In fiscal year 2012 (Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 2012), Church World Service resettled 5,871 refugees toward a U.S. Refugee Admissions Program total of 58,238.

“Those numbers represent a chance at life for some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Erol Kekic, director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program. “We are glad to be a part of that.”

As in the past three years, the top nationalities of refugees CWS resettled to the United States in 2012 were refugees from Burma, Nepalis from Bhutan and Iraqis.

CWS’s fiscal year 2012 top 10:

1.  Nepalis from Bhutan (1,784)
2.  Refugees from Burma (1,709 total)
3.  Iraqis (1,159), including entrants with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs)
4.  Somalis (356)
5.  Cubans (180)
6.  Iranians (143)
7.  Congolese from Democratic Republic of Congo (140)
8.  Refugees from the Former Soviet Union (95)
9.  Eritreans (91)
10. Ethiopians (58)

CWS also resettled smaller numbers from each of 13 other nationalities.

CWS resettled these refugees through a network of 36 offices and affiliates in 21 states, with support and participation from seven U.S. denominations/communions, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Those affiliates receiving the most refugees for resettlement from CWS in 2012 were:

1.  Indianapolis, Ind. (354)
2.  Columbus, Ohio (344)
3.  Lancaster, Pa. (273)
4.  Rochester, N.Y. (268)
5.  Atlanta, Ga. (258)
6.  Denver, Colo. (256)
7.  Syracuse, N.Y. (247)
8.  Phoenix, Ariz. (246)
9.  Grand Rapids, Mich. (239).
10. Houston, Texas (222)

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 15.5 million refugees and people in refugee-like situations throughout the world in need of protection and assistance. Of those, UNHCR estimates more than 800,000 urgently need resettlement.

Most refugees considered by the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program are UNHCR referrals. Close family members of refugees and asylees who have already resettled in the United States also may be considered, on a limited basis.  All candidates face a long series of interviews, screenings and security checks.

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is proposing a 70,000 ceiling for refugee admissions for fiscal year 2013 (Oct. 1, 2012-Sept. 30, 2013). The U.S. government forecasts admitting close to this figure in 2013. 

The 70,000 includes up to 17,000 from East Asia, 2,000 from Europe and Central Asia, 5,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 31,000 from the Near East and South Asia and 12,000 out of Africa whose cases would be processed by the CWS-administered Resettlement Support Center Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. An unallocated reserve of 3,000 completes the total.

CWS Cuban-Haitian Entrant Program

In 2012, CWS also served 8,389 Cuban entrants through its Cuban Haitian Entrant Program (CHEP). 6,562 received cultural and community orientation; 1,190 were reunited with their families in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, and 637 without sponsors in Florida were helped to resettle to five other cities.

The Cuban Haitian Entrant Program is a federal program administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

CHEP’s purpose is to provide orderly and structured reception, processing and resettlement services to Cuban and Haitian entrants and to assist them in attaining self-sufficiency by facilitating primary and secondary resettlement services. Since the program was established, it has dealt with migrations such as the Cuban freedom flights, Camarioca Exodus, Mariel Boat Lift, Cuban Guantanamo Crisis and the Haitian Boat People.

CWS is a global humanitarian agency working to eradicate hunger and poverty.  The agency supports sustainable grassroots development, helps communities respond to disasters, protects refugees and other forcibly displaced people and promotes public policies that contribute to building a world where there is enough for all. CWS has helped some 800,000 refugees and Cuban and Haitian entrants resettle and integrate into U.S. communities since it was founded in 1946.