The Department of Homeland Security announced on Monday, May 9 that roughly 6,000 Ukrainian refugees were approved for temporary entry into the U.S. as part of a program designed to fast-track the admission of 100,000 people displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine. While similar expedited processes have been used in the past, refugee admissions to the U.S. are typically lower and slower.

The U.S. passed the Refugee Act of 1980 to accommodate hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodians fleeing their homes in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The act pledges to respond to the urgent needs of people around the world who are subject to persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution often on the basis of race, religion, nationality, social affiliation, or political opinion in their home countries.

Historically, the U.S. has resettled more refugees than any other country. However, despite a decade-long increase in the number of refugees around the world, America’s response to these urgent needs in recent years has been hindered by politics.

In 2021, just 11,411 refugees, mostly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Burma, were admitted to the U.S. under a ceiling of 62,500—the lowest number since the Refugee Act of 1980 was enacted.

Since 2017, refugee resettlement capacity in the U.S. has been reduced by 38%. The country’s resettlement rate dropped 86% in roughly that same period.

In addition to policies that have gutted government agencies responsible for resettlement and created processing roadblocks for applicants—it takes an average of two years to vet refugees for resettlement in the U.S.—fewer refugees in the last five years has resulted in less funding for the programs that still exist. More than 130 resettlement sites around the country have closed due to a lack of funding.

Stacker referenced data from The Refugee Processing Center to compile statistics on the number of refugees and their countries of origin resettled in Rhode Island in April 2022.

April refugee statistics
Countries where refugees arrived from in April
Rhode Island
#1. Democratic Republic of the Congo: 10
#2. Syria: 8

#1. Democratic Republic of the Congo: 551
#2. Syria: 539
#3. Burma: 226
#4. Afghanistan: 151
#5. Ukraine: 105

States that accepted the most refugees in April
#1. California: 160
#2. Texas: 143
#3. Michigan: 129
#4. New York: 108
#5. Kentucky: 105

Read on to see the countries that Rhode Island has accepted the most refugees from since October

Issa Kashala // Shutterstock

#1. Democratic Republic of the Congo

Refugees that arrived from Democratic Republic of the Congo since October
Rhode Island: 18

National: 2,528
Top states
#1. Kentucky: 304
#2. Texas: 243
#3. Michigan: 152
#4. Arizona: 147
#5. Ohio: 128

Bernard Gagnon // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Syria

Refugees that arrived from Syria since October
Rhode Island: 13

National: 2,511
Top states
#1. California: 274
#2. Michigan: 263
#3. Pennsylvania: 182
#4. New York: 179
#5. Florida: 150

Vannrith Va // Unsplash

#3. Cambodia

Refugees that arrived from Cambodia since October
Rhode Island: 9

National: 24
Top states
#1. Rhode Island: 9
#2. Texas: 7
#3. North Carolina: 4
#4. New Mexico: 3
#5. Georgia: 1

Kobby Dagan // Shutterstock

#4. Guatemala

Refugees that arrived from Guatemala since October
Rhode Island: 3

National: 489
Top states
#1. California: 106
#2. Texas: 60
#3. New Jersey: 49
#4. Georgia: 30
#5. Arizona: 23

This story was written by Stacker and has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

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