GTHOMAS
Fri, Apr 20, 2018

Refugee vs. Asylee

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Since the attacks in Paris, France a week ago, there has been a great deal of confusion regarding the difference between a refugee and an asylee.  

Under U.S. law, refugees are individuals who are outside of their country or origin, and who have been persecuted or fear persecution, on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.  Refugees are put through an intensive screening process, often performed by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, and, if they are classified as a refugee, they will be relocated to a safe third country that has agreed to accept them.  Where the refugee is able to go depends on numerous factors, such as family ties, and how many refugees different countries have agreed to accept.

Asylees must meet the definition of a refugee, in that they also must have been persecuted or fear persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.  However, the difference is that asylum seekers are either already in the United States, or have presented themselves at the U.S. border when they seek asylum.  They do not undergo the same screening process that refugees must go through before coming to the United States.

Helpful U.S. Immigration Links

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Here you will find many helpful links to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Citizenship & Immigration Services.