Due to scheduled maintenance at the State Data Center, azdhs.gov and associated services may be unavailable intermittently on Saturday, June 15th, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Who Are Refugees?
Refugees, are primarily defined in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act as,
"any person who is outside any country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and 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."
Other categories of immigrants that are eligible to receive refugee services are the following:
- Cuban/Haitian Entrant
- Special Immigrant Visa Holders
- Victims of severe forms of trafficking
- Certain Amerasians
- LPR - lawful permanent resident who once held a status listed above
There are three Federal agencies that play key roles in the resettlement of refugees in the United States; the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Each year, the U.S. Department of State makes a proposal and subsequently, the U.S. Congress and the President determine the maximum number of refugee arrivals for the coming Federal fiscal year (October 1 - September 30). The approved number of arrivals is divided into world regions.
The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) Cultural Orientation Resource Center provides a comprehensive summary of the process by which overseas refugees arrive to the United States.
Within DHHS, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) assist refugees in their transition to the U.S.
- U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
There are 10 voluntary agencies (often referred to as Volags) in the U.S. that operate reception and placement programs under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State. Six of these national Volags have refugee resettlement affiliates in Arizona. There are four such affiliate agencies in Maricopa County and three in Pima County. Under the cooperative agreement, the resettlement agencies provide case management to incoming eligible refugees in the form of assistance with such transitional needs as housing and essential furnishings, food, clothing and pocket money, community orientation and social/employment service referrals. These services link to longer-term services.
Refugee arrival information for the State of Arizona is collected and maintained by the Arizona Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP) located within the Arizona Department of Economic Security.