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News & Events2020-04-06T17:59:50+00:00

Impact of Executive Orders on the Refugee Resettlement Program

There have been significant changes to the U.S. refugee resettlement program in recent years. The number of refugees resettled in Kentucky declined by 63% between Fiscal Year 2016 and Fiscal Year 2018. In FY2016, Kentucky resettled 2,390 refugees. In FY2018, which ended 09/30/2018, Kentucky resettled 897 refugees.

In Fiscal Year 2017 Kentucky planned on welcoming 2,431 refugees, but the number of arrivals was reduced due to a series of Executive Orders, including a 120 day pause on all refugee admissions, with limited exceptions. Kentucky ended up resettling 1,583 refugees in FY2017.

After the 120 pause on refugee admissions, a new announcement was made in early FY2018 that resumed the U.S. refugee admissions program with enhanced vetting capabilities. Additional screening measures are placed on refugee applicants from countries determined to be high risk.

The largest number of refugees come from Syria. There are currently 6.7 million refugees living outside of Syria and unable to return. In 2019, the United States resettled only 631 refugees from Syria. 15 were resettled in Kentucky.

The national ceiling for refugee arrivals in the current fiscal year (ending 09/30/2020) is 18,000. This is the lowest admission ceiling set since the Refugee Act of 1980. Refugee admissions to the United States are currently paused due to COVID-19. 

As we face the worst displacement crisis in recorded history with over 25.9 million refugees worldwide, the refugee resettlement network in Kentucky remains committed to welcoming our newest neighbors. We are thankful for a dedicated network of organizations and individuals across the state working tirelessly to provide services for those who have made Kentucky their new home. 

The numbers below demonstrate how the program has changed in recent years. There has been a significant decrease in refugee arrivals to the United States.

Federal Fiscal YearCeiling set by Presidential DeterminationNumber of Refugees Admitted NationallyNumber of Refugees Resettled in Kentucky
2017110,000 then 50,00053,7161,583