Myth: Most refugees arriving to the U.S. are from Middle Eastern countries.
Fact: The biggest arrivals to the U.S. are refugees from Myanmar & the DRC.
For a refugee, fleeing violence and prosecution, there are three durable solutions in the context of international law. The first is repatriation, meaning there is no longer threat in their home country and individuals are able to safely return. Asylum is the second, meaning that a refugee has traveled and made it to a country to apply for residency. The third is resettlement. Most refugees arriving to the United States go through the resettlement process, as they often cannot get there without going through the UNHCR’s official procedures. Every year, less than 1% of refugees get a chance at resettlement.
It is a common misconception that the only refugees being resettled to the United States are from Middle Eastern countries. In fact, the United States accepts a plurality of people from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Myanmar/Burma. People from the DRC make up the largest nationality of refugees in 15 states as of 2017. As of 2017, more than 25% of refugees arriving in the U.S. are from South Asia, and more than 30% from sub-Saharan Africa. For example, 12.6% of refugees admitted to the United States were from Somalia between 2015 and 2017 – compared to only 10% from Syria.