WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. will admit 76,000 refugees seeking asylum in 2012, according to a memorandum from President Barack Obama to the Secretary of State.
The number is a decline of 4,000 from last year’s limit of 80,000. Most of the reduction is in the allocation to refugees from Africa, which was reduced by 3,000.
Refugees differ from immigrants in that they are admitted into the country for special humanitarian concerns – usually under resettlement agreements the U.S. has reached with groups who have been allies in regional conflicts, such as those in Vietnam and Iraq.
Admission numbers are allocated regionally with a small reserve set aside for emergent needs. For 2012, 35,500 refugees will be admitted from the Near East/South Asia Region, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. Other allocations are: Africa, 12,000; East Asia, 18,000; Europe and Central Asia, 2,000; Latin America/Caribbean, 5,500; Unallocated Reserve, 3,000.