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Learn about Refugees

This helpful information comes from the HIAS website. Learn more here.

Who is a refugee?

Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their homelands due to persecution – harassment, threats, abduction, or torture, because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group such as LGBT persons, or political opinion.

What is the difference between an asylum seeker, a refugee and an asylee?

An “asylum seeker” is anyone who has fled persecution in his/her home country and is seeking safe haven in a different country, but has not yet received any legal recognition or status.


A “refugee” is a person who has been recognized in the new country as having fled due to persecution, and has been afforded some sort of legal protection, either by the new country’s government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or both. In the United States, a “refugee” is someone who has been provided with legal status by the U.S. government overseas, and then brought to this country to reside permanently.


An “asylee” is someone who came to the U.S. without official refugee status, (an “asylum seeker”) who has since been granted legal status by the U.S. government.

Read more about the refugee crisis:​

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