Refugee Populations


BRYCS - Image of Young Family - iStockphoto.com/Eileen Hart
iStockphoto.com/Eileen Hart

The Center for Applied Linguistics’ Cultural Orientation Resource Center is responsible for providing background information on incoming refugee populations so that refugee service providers are prepared for the unique needs of each group.  BRYCS frequently highlights CAL/COR’s work on our lists of highlighted resources, along with child welfare, education, and other resources specific to those working with refugee children and their families.
 
Some of the most common refugee populations resettled by the U.S. include the following:

Bhutanese

Beginning in the 1890s, Nepali-speaking people were brought to southern Bhutan to create farmlands to provide food for the rest of the country.  In the 1980s, the government began to enact oppressive integration policies toward these Nepali-speaking Bhutanese, who were tortured if they opposed the regime.  Beginning in 1990, thousands of Nepali-speaking Bhutanese were forced to flee to refugee camps in neighboring Nepal, where many have lived for the past 15 to 20 years.  As of 2008, many of these refugees have found a new home in the United States.
 
To learn more about this refugee group, visit our List of Highlighted Resources on the Bhutanese.

Burmese

Located in Southeast Asia, Burma is one of the poorest countries in the world.  For the past five decades, Burma has been in the midst of a political and armed conflict, which has forced millions of Burmese to flee their homeland.  Many of those who have fled are ethnic minorities, including the Karen, Karenni, and Chin.  Hundreds of thousands of these refugees have settled in refugee camps in Thailand and Malaysia and some are now being resettled in the United States.
 
To learn more about this refugee group, visit our List of Highlighted Resources on the Burmese.  

Burundians

Civil war erupted in Burundi, a small East African nation, during the mid-twentieth century when it gained independence from Belgium.  In 1972, hundreds of thousands of Burundians, primarily of Hutu ethnicity, were killed as the result of a campaign of violence by the Tutsi-dominated government.  Thousands more fled to refugee camps in Tanzania and other neighboring countries.  Many of the Burundian refugees currently being resettled in the U.S. have lived in these refugee camps in Tanzania since 1972, while others have lived in the camps since events in the 1990s.  

To learn more about this refugee group, visit our List of Highlighted Resources on the Burundians.  

Haitians


The Cuban and Haitian Entrant Program (CHEP) originally began in 1980 and is funded by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement(ORR) to provide eligible Cuban/Haitian Entrants with medical assistance, cash assistance, and social services. Cuban and Haitian nationals are given their “entrant status” after they arrive in this country and may be determined to be unable to return to their respective countries. Since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the number of Haitian entrants has increased greatly.

To learn more about this population, visit our List of Highlighted Resources on the Haitians.  

Iraqis

Violence triggered by the war in Iraq has prompted one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in the world.  Over the past few years, millions of Iraqis have fled to neighboring countries like Jordan and Syria to escape the fighting.   Now many Iraqis are being resettled in the United States. 

To learn more about this refugee group, visit our List of Highlighted Resources on the Iraqis.  

Somalis

Civil war and clan warfare erupted in Somalia in 1991, which resulted in the collapse of the Somali government.  The country was left in anarchy and the economic and education systems were devastated.  Many Somalis fled their country at that time, only to spend many years in refugee camps in neighboring countries.  Since 1991, it is estimated that over 100,000 Somali refugees have resettled to the United States.

To learn more about this refugee group, visit our List of Highlighted Resources on the Somalis.

To learn about other refugee groups being resettled in the United States, search the BRYCS Clearinghouse.