How Humanitarian Relief & Immigration Really Work

How Humanitarian Relief & Immigration Really Work

( – There are several kinds of immigration to the US, based on people’s reasons for wanting to come here. The humanitarian route is through refugee or political freedom (asylee) immigration.

Refugees are people who have fled their own country and can’t return because they’re at risk of persecution there. Reasons might include their race, religion, political beliefs or social group. Refugees apply for immigration from outside the US, usually from a country they’ve fled to en route to the US.

The number of refugees allowed to enter the US every year is limited. That number is set by the president, in consultation with Congress. There’s a total limit and subsidiary ones for each region of the world. In September 2019, President Trump set the limit for 2020 at 18,000 people.

Like refugees, asylum seekers fear persecution in their own countries. The difference is that asylees have already reached the US. A person can apply for asylum at the US border, or up to a year after they arrive in the country, and there’s no limit on how many asylees can be admitted each year.

There’s no time limit on refugee or asylum status. Once a refugee or asylee has been in the US for a year and obtains an immigrant visa, they can apply to become lawful permanent residents (LPR), and work legally, so in practice, they never go home even if it becomes safe for them to do that. That’s why the process needs to be strictly controlled.

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