There is a chart making the rounds (several people have sent it to me) which supposedly shows the “origins” of “refugees” admitted to the US. Although the text makes it clear that the numbers are for those granted “asylum” in the US (yes, they become refugees, aka asylees, for the purpose of getting their goodies), but to call them “refugees” is confusing.
A refugee is generally considered to be someone the UN selects abroad and is admitted into the US by the State Department after some initial screening. A successful asylee is someone who got to the US on his or her own steam and then asked for asylum and were subsequently granted refugee status.
Also, the chart does not tell us what the time frame is for the numbers or where the author got them—are the numbers for 10 years, 5 years, one year???
Regular readers here can quickly see that the numbers are wrong if we are talking about “refugees” admitted by the US because leading that list in recent years are Iraqis, Burmese, Bhutanese and Somalis.
We don’t admit Chinese “refugees” in any great number. This year (see stats here) for example in the same period that we took 32 Chinese “refugees” we have admitted 11,660 Iraqis.
Since the chart making the rounds lists Chinese “refugees” as over 65,000 it is clearly attempting to show “asylees” or “asylum seekers” (those who have not yet been granted asylum). Those Chinese asylum seekers got in here through either illegal means or overstayed a visa (also illegal!).
By the way, most Chinese asylum seekers are frauds! Remember this story from last February?
In fact, another bunch of frauds are the “unaccompanied kids” from mostly Central America who got in here illegally and are going to be seeking asylum. If approved they will be refugees with all of the social services and rights available to a US citizen (except voting, but they will be doing that too!). See our fact sheet for what refugees and asylees (those granted asylum) are eligible to receive.
Here is the government’s Annual Flow Report for 2012 which helps further make the distinction between “refugees” and “asylees.” (Don’t ask me why they don’t have 2013 available, but I bet it’s because their “asylee” numbers are a chaotic mess or so over-the-top that they don’t want you to know!).
I sure hope that helps!