Refugee admissions fell in May for the second month in a row
Only 1,898 refugees were admitted through the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) in May, a 4% drop from April and the lowest admissions since January. With the 2022 fiscal year ⅔ over, the U.S. has resettled 12,641 refugees – only 10% of the annual admissions ceiling.
Despite promises from President Biden to strengthen the program, admissions continue to lag far below pre-pandemic levels. The program faces many challenges including a decimated infrastructure, severe paperwork delays at USCIS, a need for more staff, and perhaps most importantly, the political will to prioritize these needs.
Over 6,500 Ukrainians have arrived under Uniting for Ukraine
While only 77 refugees were admitted from Ukraine through the USRAP, over 6,500 Ukrainians have arrived through the Uniting for Ukraine program. The program was opened for US-based sponsors to apply beginning April 25th, and since then at least 45,000 applications have been filed and 27,000 individuals have been approved for travel. Having the application completely electronic has allowed this process to move much more quickly than is typical for USCIS filing.
The program does not include all of the benefits and supports of the traditional resettlement program, but it has allowed for a much quicker avenue to allow Ukrainians to receive authorization to enter the U.S., as the refugee pathway can often take years to complete. While this provides a temporary solution for legal entry, it remains to be seen how the program will hold up to pressures to resettle new families without the typical support of experienced resettlement caseworkers and programs.
Housing shortages continue to complicate resettlement efforts for Afghans
Housing crises across the country continue to have a devastating effect on the resettlement of Afghans who arrived under humanitarian parole last year. The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that many Afghans remain in hotels after months in the United States. In Turlock, California over 12% of those settled in the city remain in temporary housing. Refugee Housing Solutions is a collaborative effort that has launched to bridge some of these gaps and expand access to affordable housing for refugees across the country.