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Human Services FY91 budget requests. Let me stress that the 121,000 admissions the President is proposing is a ceiling, not a quota. The Department of State is implementing a plan for
financing the admission of the additional refugees within the current budget. The plan includes offering a reduced fare for
pre-payment of the transportation of refugees by relatives
and/or voluntary organizations and identifying cost savings in
other areas of the refugee program.
The Departments of State
and Health and Human Services are committed to achieving
maximum efficiency in financing the admission of refugees
within the available appropriations.
At this time, I would like to share with you a brief overview
of some of the major refugee situations that are of concern.
Africa is currently home to over 4.5 million refugees, a figure
amounting to nearly one third of the world's total.
major countries on the Horn
Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia
are all beset by fierce civil wars which have generated approximately 2 million refugees and massive internal displacement with no end in sight. To make matters worse, another severe drought has hit Ethiopia.
In Mozambique, the ongoing conflict between FRELIMO and RENAMO forces have forced approximately 1.3 million Mozambicans to flee their country. Malawi, one of the smallest and poorest
countries on the African continent, has taken in well over
800,000 Mozambican refugees, a figure amounting to one tenth of
its entire population.
During my travels to southern Africa
this past spring, I was witness to the enormity of the current
refugee crisis in the region.
In West Africa, the Liberian refugee population has risen in recent months from 170,000 to 500,000. The conflict, which started with an incursion by rebels led by a former government minister in northeast Liberia's Nimba County, has resulted in
an unleashing of violent ethnic hostilities committed by both
The FY90 admissions ceiling for Africa was originally set at
3,000. However, during the course of the year, it became apparent that additional travel-ready refugees could be moved and, after reallocating numbers from another region, the Africa ceiling was raised to 3,500. At the beginning of FY91, a
pipeline of some 1,500 INS-approved African refugees
whom will become travel ready during the first quarter of FY91
is expected. Given the continued lack of other solutions
for significant refugee populations in the region, African
refugee numbers should be increased to 4,900.
Near East South Asia
The Near East/South Asian region has the unhappy distinction of having the largest concentration of refugees and displaced people in the world today. with continuing hostilities in the
West Bank and Gaza, the plight of two million Palestinians
remains without a solution.
As a result of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980, more than three million Afghan refugees remain in neighboring Pakistan and an estimated two million are in Iran. Voluntary
repatriation programs have met with some success.
because of the unstable political situation in Afghanistan, it is unlikely that a significant number of Afghans will return to
their homeland any time soon.
If Afghans were able to return
home, the world's refugee rolls would be reduced by a full one
The original FY90 admissions ceiling of 6,500 was revised to
5,000 during the course of the year when it became apparent
that at least 1,500 numbers were likely to go unused and were
The decrease was largely due to a decline in
applications from Iranian religious minorities.
The proposed ceiling for refugees from the Near East and South
Asia for FY91 is 6,000.
This ceiling would allow us to
continue to process Afghan, Iranian and Iraqi refugees in priorities one through four.
Over 110,000 Indochinese asylum seekers reside in camps in
Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.
Thailand alone is host to some
300,000 displaced persons from Cambodia who await repatriation to their homeland under a comprehensive political settlement.
Thailand also has a significant camp population of Vietnamese
In Southeast Asia, maintaining first asylum for Vietnamese boat
people remains one of the most critical issues we face in this
The Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA), adopted by 56
nations in 1989, reaffirms the commitment to providing first asylum and resettlement opportunities for screened-in
While the Southeast Asian nations and Hong Kong have
recognized the humanitarian right of boat people to seek
asylum, Malaysia has continued its policy of push-offs, a
practice the U.S. deplores, and which we have protested at the
Since May 1989, Malaysia has reportedly towed
over 8,000 boat people back out to sea, although fortunately in
most cases with provisions for onward travel to Indonesia.
For FY91, in order to provide maximum flexibility in
accomplishing both objectives under the CPA, we are proposing
to combine the first asylum and Orderly Departure Program
ceilings into a single East Asia ceiling of 52,000.
would be given to meeting our commitment's under the CPA for
first asylum admissions within the 52,000 ceiling in order to
reduce the number of Vietnamese refugees in the ASEAN nations
and Hong Kong. Nevertheless, we anticipate a substantial increase in the orderly Departure Program in FY91 with a substantial portion of that increase coming from faster
processing of immigrant petitions.
The welcome progression of democratic reforms in Hungary,
Poland and Czechoslovakia has reduced the number of refugees
from this part of the world. Therefore, the scope of the program will be narrower in FY91, with a proposed admissions
ceiling of 5,000. Only nationals of those countries where
democratic reforms have not yet been put into place Romania, Bulgaria, Albania may routinely apply for the U.S. refugee admissions program as we enter the new fiscal year. Depending on developments in the region, however, further changes in the
admissions program for this region may be necessary during the
course of the year.
Latin Amrica and the Caribbean
Persecution and discrimination against former political prisoners and dissidents continues to drive many Cubans to
desperate measures to try to flee the country.