The current status of Burmese refugees in Thailand is changing quickly. The past 7 years have been spent resettling more than 65,000 Burmese refugees from camps in Thailand into the U.S. As a result of the large-scale resettlement project, Burmese refugees eligible for resettlement has decreased significantly.
Refugees in this resettlement project were registered by the UNHCR and Government of Thailand in 2005. As a result of the decreasing number of refugees eligible for the resettlement program, the U.S. Bureau of Populations, Refugees, and Migration is setting deadlines for eligible refugees to apply for resettlement. Deadlines were announced in the first camp in 2009, and the remaining 8 camps will receive an announcement throughout 2013 at varying dates based upon the initial commencement of resettlement operations.
Not all Burmese refugees eligible for resettlement consideration in the camps will be interested in resettlement. Keeping this in mind, UNHCR and IRC have created an intensely proactive informational campaign to take to camps in Thailand.
Through the campaign, refugees will be encouraged to apply for resettlement by the deadline. Though the process is ongoing and extensive, the goal of creating and setting deadlines is to complete the large-scale resettlement program and provide resettlement for eligible refugees efficiently and effectively.
What do these deadlines have to do with refugees in the Triangle? Many Burmese refugees in the area are relatives to refugees still in the camps in Thailand. As World Relief Durham continues to meet with the resettled refugees, we are encouraging them to ask questions about the new policy and to urge their family members to apply by the deadlines posted. This information was provided by Barbara Day, Chief, Domestic Resettlement, Refugee Admissions; Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; U.S. Department of State.