Many Immigration Benefits Are Available to Refugees

To qualify as a refugee, a person must meet the following definition from Section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA):

“any person who… is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion….”

Here are four things to remember about immigration benefits available to refugees:

  • Refugees (as distinguished from asylum grantees) receive a broad range of benefits and services (e.g. complete furnishing for free or subsidized housing) that are not available to U.S. citizens who are homeless and indigent.
  • There are still significant numbers of aliens resettled as refugees who are in fact admitted under the Lautenberg Amendment and thus do not have to meet the evidentiary standards for establishing status under INA 207. The related Specter Amendment includes Iranian nationals in this special category. Congress has reauthorized the loopholes annually in the 1970s.
  • Only refugees who are designated as eligible for a presidentially designated “priority program” are offered resettlement. The third priority for refugee selection (P-3) is referred to by the Department of State as the “Anchor Family Program” because it is almost entirely derivatives of previously settled refugees, justified on the basis of “family unity” rather than protection from persecution. For example, adult children of previously settled refugees are in this priority category due to the CSPA legislation.
  • Entrants on certain Special Immigrant Visas also receive a high level of public benefits similar to that granted to refugees.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    From Numbers USA: We’ve just created a special website to make it easy for you to write your comment to the government regulatory website to stop this latest outrage from the Obama Administration.
    Foreign students have thus far dominated the comments approving the Obama changes that will allow hundreds of thousands of them to take tech and other high-skill jobs away from Americans.
    We have only 13 days until the comment period closes. Please go to this website
    and make sure more comments stand up for American grads.

    Earlier this year, the Obama Administration announced that it was expanding a little-known program called “Optional Practical Training” (OPT). OPT allows foreign students who hold an F-1 student visa to work for up to 12 months in a job that’s related to their field of study. But the Obama Administration wants to expand it to 36 months for foreign students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
    Even the current OPT program has never been authorized by Congress. Under current immigration law, F-1 visa holders are NOT allowed to hold a job after graduation, and they promise to leave within 60 days of completing their coursework.

    • avatar

      After winning the election we should get rid of all things that allow these people to take advantage to be trown out including some of them !!

  2. avatar

    The pro-immigration crowd says that visa students contribute to the US economy. How do they know this? If a person gets a degree in chemical engineering how do the Pro’s know the graduates use that degree instead of being socially disfunctional? I know about a visa Chemistry MA from Israel who is probably a drug dealer. We can’t tell college entrants their chances of getting a job in their field, otherwise why would it take 9 months for a new graduate to get ANY job. We can’t tell them how much they might make, otherwise why would they suffer sticker shock at the cost of education.We can’t tell the ten thousand STEM workers in the US where to find jobs. How do we track, and verify, the work status of Visa graduates? We should not accept false data as an argument in favor of bringing Visa students into the country. And there is no reason we should import students to compete with our own college graduates.

  3. avatar

    PBS ran two documentarys concerning single mothers with multiple children. In both they were working in Mexico City and didn’t make enough to feed their children and both said, “I think I’ll move to Chicago”, a santurary city. Both parked kids with relatives, snuck across the border, found a job in Chicago and rented an apartment then sent for their multiple children and marched them all down to the welfare office to scam for benefits. In both cases the Mexican woman made the decision and nobody in the US had any say about anything.

    • avatar

      As soon as we get rid of Odumbo, she can march right down to the whorehouse in the border town we will dump her and her brats in. Vote for Trump. He will end this insanity.

  4. avatar

    Study shows for every refugee brought here 12 could be aided if left in a safe area…..the refugee program is a scam………puts money into the so-called relief organizations..mostly religious.

  5. avatar

    Why not bring their pets and milk cows along. I’m sure this stupid federal government will figure out some “benefits” for them. I mean, this country is so wealthy we can just give everything away and let all the bombers and terrorists in to kill us. Vote for Trump. He will end this insane crap!

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