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At the end of August, the US met President Obama's goal of taking in 10,000 Syrian refugees within a year. The program has drawn attention to broader US policies on refugees.

How does the United States decide which refugees get admitted?

The terms "immigrant" and "refugee" are sometimes used interchangeably. But refugees must prove that they were forced to leave their country because of  "a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group," explains the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

At the end of last year, 21.3 million refugees, including 4.9 million Syrians, were seeking relocation worldwide, according to the UN. But not even 1 percent of these refugees will successfully relocate to the US. Each year the US president sets a refugee quota in consultation with Congress, the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security. The US quota was set at 70,000 refugees for the past three years, but Secretary of State John Kerry raised the ceiling to 85,000 refugees for fiscal year 2016.


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