Myanmar refugees comprise thirdlargest bloc admitted to US
MYANMAR nationals made up the third-largest group of refugees resettled in the US over the past fiscal year, which concluded at the end of September.
Department of State data showed that of the 84,995 refugees processed by the US from October 2015 to last month, 12,347 were from Myanmar, just behind the Democratic Republic of the Congo (16,370) and Syria (12,587).
The Myanmar cohort included 6785 Christians, 3127 Muslims and 1362 Buddhists.
“The US resettlement program serves refugees who are especially vulnerable,” a State Department fact sheet about the 2016 refugee intake said.
There were refugees admitted under the program from 79 countries but “over 70 percent fled five countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Burma, Iraq and Somalia, where protracted conflicts have driven millions from their homes”.
The US State Department said that more than 72pc of the resettled refugees were women and children.
“Many are single mothers, survivors of torture, people who need urgent medical treatment, religious minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) persons, or others imperiled by violence and persecution.”
The top five states that accepted refugees were California, Texas, New York, Michigan and Ohio.
These numbers come not long after US President Barack Obama’s administration announced a new ceiling of 110,000 refugees to be resettled in the 2017 fiscal year.
This represents a 57pc increase over the 70,000 refugees admitted in the 2015 fiscal year.
The State Department said this increase was “consistent with the belief that all nations must do more to help the record number of innocent civilians who are uprooted, cast adrift, and desperate to find peace, safety and the chance to rebuild their lives”.
However the number of refugees accepted in the US continues to be miniscule compared to the total number of people seeking resettlement around the world.
Numbers from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees shows that there are more than 60 million displaced people internationally – a total that counts both those living inside and outside of their home countries.
This represents the highest share of the world’s population that has been displaced since the UNHCR began collecting data on the topic in 1951.