Washington, DC - The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program embodies the United States’ values of compassion, generosity, and leadership in serving vulnerable populations. The United States has welcomed more than three million refugees since 1975, helping them build new lives in all 50 states. These refugees have added an immeasurable amount to the richness of American culture, contributed to our economic strength and honored our core values as a nation, engraved in our Statute of Liberty.

Refugees survive terrible ordeals: torture, upheaval, perilous journeys, and tremendous loss. They are persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. Today, due to conflict and repression, there are nearly 20 million refugees in the world. For a small number of the most vulnerable of these refugees, the United States strives to provide a new start through refugee resettlement.

It is a tradition that exemplifies American leadership in humanitarian causes around the world, and makes our nation a beacon of hope. That is why Secretary Kerry was pleased to announce today that we will further expand the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to help vulnerable families and individuals from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, offering a safe and legal alternative to the dangerous and irregular journey many are currently taking in the hands of human smugglers.

We will collaborate with UNHCR and its NGO partners to identify persons in need of refugee protection – people targeted by criminal gangs, human rights defenders who have been targeted, and others. We also continue to explore additional options, including for those who may be at imminent risk of harm. Expanding resettlement opportunities is a key part of our broader response to the situation in the Northern Triangle, and the needs of refugees around the world.

Refugee Resettlement by the Numbers:

  • Number of Refugees Resettled to the United States in the last ten years, FY 2006-FY2015: 622,169
  • Number of Refugees Resettled to the United States in FY 2015: 69,933

Date: 01/13/2016 Description: Refugee Arrivals by Processing Region, FY 2006 - FY 2015 - State Dept Image

Date: 01/13/2016 Description: U.S. map illustrating refugee arrivals by state - State Dept Image

The United States has always been a leader in humanitarian assistance and refugee resettlement. On resettlement, our admissions process is rigorous and deliberate, and we prioritize the need to safeguard national security and public safety, as we seek to fulfill our moral responsibility to help those in need. Today’s new commitment is yet another indication that the U.S. will continue to be a leader in helping to protect the world’s most vulnerable refugees through resettlement efforts, while ensuring the security of our nation is preserved.