The United States has accepted for resettlement just under 2,200 refugees from Syria since the conflict began in 2011. The vast majority arrived within the last year. They are now arriving at the rate of 45 a week. Though it’s picking up pace, the rate is still far short of what will be needed to meet President Obama’s goal of taking in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year, part of a total of 85,000 refugees from around the world. During the height of the Vietnam War, the United States took in many more refugees, around 200,000 a year.
It typically takes 18 to 24 months for a Syrian refugee to be considered and checked before being admitted. Here are some other important facts to know:
Only two percent of the refugees are single males of combat age.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees refers agencies to most countries, including the United States, the agency’s the biggest donor. One factor for consideration is whether a refugee already has family in the country. The United States has asked the UNHCR to prioritize refugees who are considered vulnerable – women with children, the elderly, people who have been tortured or who may require modern medical treatment they cannot easily get elsewhere. Half the accepted refugees so far have been children. A quarter are adults over 60. They are roughly 50/50 men and women, though there are slightly more men. Because of the criteria, many refugee families have women as the head of household, or live with multiple generations under one roof.
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