Anthropology, Department of


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Published in Nebraska Anthropologist Vol. 15 (1999-2000). Copyright © David Baker and Kristy Feldhousen; published by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln AnthroGroup.


The process of becoming a refugee is lengthy, complicated, and arduous. It involves timing, political, religiolls, and economic considerations - and luck. The United Nations High Commission for Refugee's (UNHCR) in combination with the Department of State (DOS) have established their own particular criteria for granting refugee status and placement policy. After granting refugee status, the UNHCR places the refugee into three optional resolutions: repatriation to the refugee's home country, local resettlement in the country of first asylum, and resettlemellt to a third country (US Dept of Health, 1995). 1n the post World War II era an influx of refugees have made their homes in the United States regularly averaging over 70,000 per year (US Dept of Health, 1995). The DOS has established a priority list ranging from one to five pending the level of crisis of the case. The DOS has designated particular" refugee" countries into particular priority groups. It can directly grant refugee status and place refugees in the US under resolution three, but most refugees are referred to the DOS through the UNHCR (Ibid.). Once the refugees have been classified into one of the priority list, the refugees are thell distributed throughout the US according to local resource capacity, and particularities of the socioeconomic environment under replacement consideration.

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