Refugees

We serve refugees who have fled their country of origin and have met the United Nations’ criteria of having a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”

Refugees who have been interviewed, allowed to come to the US, and invited by the State Department are legal residents on the ultimate pathway to citizenship. They must wait one year to obtain a green card and five years to gain citizenship.

Who is a refugee?

Refugees are people whose lives have been torn apart when violence arrives on their doorstep or when they are persecuted for their religious or political beliefs. More than 50% of all refugees are children. 

Refugees are driven from their homes and communities by factors outside their control. It happens so fast. Quite literally, refugees are people running for their lives.

Voiceless and without an advocate, most often grabbing only the things they can carry, refugees are the world’s most vulnerable people.

Over 16 million refugees around the world depend on UNHCR for protection and support. Many find refuge in camps—where UNHCR and partners provide essential services. Others, known as urban refugees, live in towns and cities where they are often hidden from view, harder to help, and lack the resources to get by.

Refugees remain uprooted for an average of 17 years due to ongoing violence in their home communities or fear of targeted violence and persecution if they return.

Please refer to the video below to learn more about the difference between refugees and immigrants and why they come to the United States: