According to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees wars, famine, political unrest and many others cause more than 40 million people a year to cross borders throughout the world. The United States honor struggles of many of these refugees on June 20 with a World Refugee Day.
There is a difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker in the United States. According to the US law, a refugee is a person located outside the US, considered to be of “special humanitarian concern to the United States,” have been persecuted or have well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion in their home country or other reasons. These people should petition to the US Admissions Program before reaching the US border and should be interviewed outside US. Those who qualify under the criteria will be allowed to enter into the country under the “Refugee Resettlement” program.
An asylum seeker on the other hand is a person that fears he or she is under the threat of persecution or harm and can request the status after arriving to the United States. The fear of persecution should be based on race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion and should apply for the status within one year of arrival in the US.