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Social Injustice: Refugees Coming to America

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Getting It Right With Dr Boles

Getting It Right With Dr Boles

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 Every year, the president and Congress meet to set refugee quotas for specific countries. "By its very nature, it’s not a legal process; it is a political process,” says Bill Frelick, the director of the refugee program at Human Rights Watch. A vulnerable group of refugees who do not have a big profile and do not have a “special” connection to the United States, are left out. Acceptance of refugees is a popularity contest that is politically driven.

When Saigon fell in 1975, the U.S. had no comprehensive refugee policy. When refugees from the South China Sea started arriving, the government passed the 1980 Refugee Act, giving way to a universal definition for what it meant to be a refugee, and founded the resettlement program that exists to this day. The Vietnamese exodus continued through the '90s until the U.S. formally closed its resettlement program in 1994.

By 2007, the U.N.’s refugee agency called the Iraq exodus the "largest long-term population movement in the Middle East since the displacement of Palestinians" in 1948. But at that point, the U.S. had admitted fewer than 1,000 Iraqi refugees.

  There are currently 2.6 million Afghan refugees. But in the last 20 years, the U.S. has taken in less than 20,000.By 1994, 2.3 million Rwandan people had fled the country. The U.S. has taken in less than 1,500. The 1999-2001 civil war in Liberia resulted in 640,000 refugees. The U.S., has accepted about 33,000.

Out of the more than two million Syrian refugees, the United States has  taken in a total of 90 since that country’s civil war began.

Soviet Jews have been steadily streaming into the U.S. for decades surpassing their relocation to Israel. The Lautenberg Amendment, a special 1989 law, even granted refugee status to Jews from the former Soviet Union without having to prove specific persecution.

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