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What Do Statistics Say About U.S. Asylum and Refugee Immigration?

February 15, 2013

Author: Asylum Lawyer Alena Shautsova

Every year the Office of Immigration Statistics issues an Annual Flow Report that offers information about U.S. refugee and asylum statistics. The most recent statistics available are for 2011 and the annual flow report indicates that 56,384 persons gained admission to the United States as refugees during 2011. Burma, Bhutan and Iraq were the leading countries for the flow of immigrants and there were 24,988 individuals granted asylum by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ).

Two types of asylum

There are two types of asylum, which are affirmative asylum and defensive asylum:

  • Affirmative asylum. In an affirmative asylum case, the immigrant is already in the United States or at a port of entry and submits an application for asylum to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration service (USCIS).
  • Defensive asylum. In a defensive asylum case, the immigrant faces forcible removal from the United States and requests asylum when appearing before an immigration judge. Officials either stopped the immigrant when attempting to enter the country without proper documentation or detained the individual while in the United States because of a lack of documentation or a status violation.

Comparing 2011 statistics with 2010 statistics, in 2010 there were 73, 293 persons who entered the United States as refugees and the DHS and DOJ granted 21,113 of them asylum. While the government permitted greater numbers of immigrants to enter the country in 2010, it granted fewer asylums than in 2011. The leading countries for immigrants granted asylum in 2010 were China, Ethiopia and Haiti. The leading countries for immigrants granted asylum in 2011 were China, Nepal and Haiti.

If you face persecution in your native country, seek legal help from a New York lawyer who can work with you for asylum or refugee status.

Category: Asylum in USA