In 2022, there were several on-going refugee crises, mostly i war-torn countries. Thousands of Ukrainians have sought to escape these territories. United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) data reveals that refugees have doubled from the previous decade, with over 82.4 million people fleeing their countries with 68% of refugees coming from five countries.
Wars, Instability and Internal conflict, remain the main causes of refugees, asylum seekers and migration. By 2021, more than 6.7 million Syrians sought refuge in neighbouring countries from the decade-old conflict in their country. Over 88% of the 2.6 million Afghan refugees fled to Pakistan and Iran, while 2.6 million fled from South Sudan, to surrounding countries since 2013. Add Rohingyas from Myanmar, people from Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, and Eritrea, making up millions fleeing war and persecution, all people dread returning to their homes.
International Refugee Law
Despite the responsibility of countries to protect citizens’ rights, many states can’t do so. As these refugees are not migrants voluntarily leaving their countries, another country helps them escape severe threats. The 1951 Refugee Convention defines refugee status through Article 14, and the Protocol of 1967 lays down their rights, linked to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by the U.N. General Assembly to create international humanitarian laws for war refugees after WWII. Under laws protecting refugees, they have the right to seek asylum to avoid returning to their country if it is dangerous. The UNHCR mandate provides protection and help to find permanent solutions for people with refugee status.
Determining Resettlement Process and US Refugee Numbers
Congress and the President have annual consultations to determine how many refugees will eeventually enter the USA annually. In 2020, the U.S. ceiling was 18,000 refugees compared to 30,000 in 2019. Due to COVID-related travel bans, only 11,814 refugees finally made it to the USA. Initial screening of refugees is by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Anyone qualifying under international law as refugees for resettlement is then screened by the nine U.S. Department of State Resettlement Support Centres (RSCs) located globally, to meet USRAP priorities:
Priority One: Can’t enforce solutions for local integration or repatriation.
Priority Two: People of “special concern” to the USA from countries like former USSR countries, Burma, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
Priority Three: Refugees settled in the USA: parents, spouses, unmarried children (under 21).
Lawyers Assisting Refugees
Persons persecuted due to race, religion, political opinion, nationality, etc. can apply for asylum as fleeing war-zones is challenging. The USA emphasizes refugee protection in immigration laws, and lawyers lobby for policy changes since 1945. The easiest way to secure asylum eligibility and apply for permanent residence in the U.S. is through a lawyer. As the number of applications considered annually is limited, and the process very complicated, lawyers apply for affirmative or defensive application depending upon the asylum seeker status seeking it before detention or after, respectively. Applying for asylum at a port of entry is advised, but immigrants do so, within a year, with proof of past persecution or fear of future persecution back home, by the government or violent forces. Delays are common for inadequately showing dangers and not involving an interpreter in the proceedings.