US Immigration Policy and Refugee Resettlement

Friendly smiling worker consulting senior man in US immigration office

The history of US immigration policy and refugee resettlement may be traced back centuries to the arrival of the first settlers on American land. The country has seen a steady influx of immigrants from various countries, ethnicities, and origins, as well as refugees fleeing war-torn countries.

The laws for admitting immigrants and refugees into the US are complex and require stringent screening, with refugee resettlement rules requiring even more stringent screening. For individuals seeking shelter in America, the path is typically fraught with tragedy, vulnerability, and loss.

Overview of the US Immigration Policy and Refugee Resettlement

The United States Refugee Resettlement Program is a long-term option for people in need of humanitarian assistance. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) provides financing and services to states, resettlement agencies, and non-profit community-based organizations to facilitate refugee resettlement.

The United States Refugee Resettlement Program was established in 1980, with an annual cap of 650,000 refugees. Since then, refugee admissions have fluctuated, reaching a high of 132,000 in 2016. Due to newly implemented travel restrictions on certain nations, the number has plummeted dramatically to 18,000 in 2020.

ORR collaborates with various government partners, including agencies inside the United States. Departments of State and Homeland Security will provide refugees with health care and support programs to help them achieve self-sufficiency as quickly as possible.

Countries Experiencing War and Other Humanitarian Crisis Affecting Refugees

It is not surprising that over 100 million people have been forced from their homes as a result of conflict, persecution, and other humanitarian crises in the world today. According to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, about 4 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries since the start of their civil war in 2011. Following the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, millions of Ukrainians have traveled to neighboring nations. Furthermore, an increasing number of Syrians are fleeing the crisis-torn country to North and South America. These figures demonstrate the magnitude of forced displacement within our global community and are a sobering reminder of the global implications of the conflict.

The US Refugee Camps: What they are and Where they are Located

The United States runs refugee camps across the country to provide temporary shelter and aid to refugees awaiting permanent resettlement or asylum petitions. These camps are frequently run by nonprofit organizations and are supported by the federal government.

Some of the most well-known refugee camps in the United States include the Berks Family Residential Centers in Pennsylvania and South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas serve families with children. Other institutions include California’s Adelanto ICE Processing Center, Texas’ Karnes County Residential Center, and Georgia’s Stewart Detention Center.


While these camps provide a safe haven for refugees fleeing war, persecution, or other dangerous conditions, they have also sparked debate and criticismAdvocacy groups have raised concerns about overcrowding, inadequate medical care, and detainee abuse and mistreatment. Requests have been made to change the US refugee system. To ensure that refugees are treated with dignity and respect and that their rights and well-being are maintained while awaiting resettlement or adjudication of their asylum applications.

Pros and Cons of US Refugee Resettlement

Refugee resettlement is a complicated problem that requires combining humanitarian considerations with national security interests. There are numerous arguments both for and against allowing refugees to enter the United States.



  1. Humanitarian aid: Resettlement is viewed as a means of assisting persons fleeing persecution and conflict in their own nations. The United States has a long history of resettling refugees and is one of the world’s largest resettlement countries.
  2. Economic benefits: Refugees are frequently driven to succeed in their new communities and can contribute to the economy through labor and entrepreneurship. They can also help to rejuvenate distressed towns while also promoting diversity and cultural interchange.
  3. Strengthening US influence: Resettling refugees can be viewed as a strategy to promote American values and strengthen US soft power globally. It can also help to enhance relations with nations that host a big number of refugees.



  1. National security concerns: Critics argue that resettling refugees poses a threat to national security, as it is difficult to assess all refugees and verify their safety. This concern has grown stronger in the aftermath of global terrorism.
  2. The strain on resources: Resettling migrants can be expensive and difficult, leading to limited access to housing, education, and health care. Instead, critics believe, money should be allocated toward American citizens in need.
  3. Social and cultural tensions: As communities try to integrate newcomers, resettling refugees can cause social and cultural problems. In some circumstances, this might escalate to animosity and even violence.

The resettlement of refugees is a complicated topic that necessitates striking a balance between a number of issues. Difficulties must be resolved to make the process efficient and long-lasting.

What Does the Future Look Like?

Immigration will continue to play a significant role in the growth and development of the US population. President Biden suggested the United States in March 2021. The Citizenship Act of 2021 would give undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship through temporary legal status and permanent residence, based on how long they have lived in the country.

Pew Research Center forecasts doubling immigration numbers to 1 million immigrants each year by 2050. It would increase the U.S. population to nearly 500 million by 2050, an increase of 100 million over 2020 levels. Furthermore, Pew projects that new immigrants and their descendants will account for 88% of future population increase in the United States between 2020 and 2065 (compared to 27% between 1965 and 2015).

Supporting Refugees in American Communities

Since 1980, the United States Refugee Resettlement Program (ORR) has offered assistance to newly arrived populations in order to help them acclimate to life in the United States. ORR collaborates with local governments and non-profit partners to create a route to a successful relocation. In addition, the group collaborates with governmental agencies to ensure that refugees have access to resources such as education and employment.

Since 1975, the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) has supported over 350,000 refugees. USCRI offers help with healthcare, job placement, legal aid, and language classes. The group collaborates with local communities to build relationships and aid in integration efforts.


The last opportunity for Americans to help refugees is through Welcome Corps, which offers mentorship, tutoring, and other sorts of assistance. Volunteers offer aid to refugees through Welcome Corps by visiting their homes, helping them find jobs, donating furniture, or providing transportation services. Americans are providing resources and assistance to refugees to help them adjust to life in the US.

Assistance and Resources Available for Refugees

Refugees can receive assistance and resources to help them adjust to their new lives in the United States. Here are a couple of such examples:

  1. Resettlement Agencies: Non-profit organizations hired by the US government to assist refugees in finding housing, learning English, and finding work. In addition, they provide financial aid, cultural orientation, and medical treatment.
  2. Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA): This program provides refugees with cash aid for up to eight months after they arrive in the United States.
  3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): This program gives qualifying refugees a debit card that can be used to buy food.
  4. Medicaid: Refugees who are unable to obtain employer-sponsored health insurance may be eligible for Medicaid, which pays for medical expenses.
  5. English Language Learning Programs: Many community colleges and non-profit groups provide English classes to refugees in order to assist them to improve their language skills.

  6. Job Training Programs: There are numerous initiatives available to assist refugees in finding work and developing career skills. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) provides job training programs for refugees.
  7. Legal Services: Some groups offer refugees free or low-cost legal services, such as assistance in applying for asylum or other forms of legal status.
  8. Mental Health Services: Many refugees have been traumatized and could benefit from counseling or other mental health services. Some organizations offer these services for free or at a discounted rate.

These are just a few of the many resources accessible in the United States to refugees. To facilitate a smooth adjustment to their new home, refugees should engage with local organizations and investigate all of their possibilities.


Refugees are an example of our compassion and dedication to helping those in need, regardless of immigration rules. Resettlement offers people the opportunity to gain protection, stability, and hope for a better future. We can help refugees by understanding the refugee experience and providing support and advocacy.