Frequently Asked Questions

What is a refugee?

 
What is the difference between a refugee and an immigrant?
 
What services does the Bureau of Refugee Services provide to refugees?
From where do refugees that are resettled in Iowa come?
 
What is a refugee?
 
A refugee is a person unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of their country of nationality or habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. The term refugee does not include any person who was involved or participated in the persecution of any persons on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.
 
What is the difference between a refugee and an immigrant?
 
Refugees are persons who have fled their country or origin due to fear of persecution. Immigrants are persons who voluntarily leave their country of origin for any number of reasons. Refugees and immigrants have different legal status in the United States. For more information on U.S. policy towards refugees and immigrants, visit the Department of Homeland Security website at http://www.dhs.gov/index.shtm
 
What services does the Bureau of Refugee Services provide to refugees?
 
Through arrangements with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we are able to provide a wide range of services to refugees. We are  able to provide employment services, case management services and a wide variety of other social services functions. For more information on the services we provide, visit our Employment Services section.
 
From where do most refugees that are resettled in Iowa come?
 
Over the years, refugees have come to Iowa from many different countries. In the mid 1970s and 1980s, refugees came primarily from Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In the 1990s, we continued to see refugees from Southeast Asia and also began seeing large numbers of refugees from Eastern European countries including Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and the former Soviet Union. The number of refugees from various African countries, in particular form the Sudan, also began to increase. Beginning in 2006 the arrival of Burmese and Iraqi refugees began. In 2008 the first of the refugees from Bhutan began.