Sen. Fran Millar

I thought it might be helpful to give people the facts as respects the Federal (not state) refugee resettlement program.

I do have concerns about John Kerry's plans via the President to vastly expand this program without the necessary security and medical safeguards and the Georgia Senate will be sending a resolution to Congress expressing our concerns. Understand the State of Georgia does not control this program despite the foolishness you may have seen.

Below are questions that are frequently asked about this program. This information is available on the DHS website:

Note: this column was written before the attacks in Paris.

Who is a refugee?

A refugee is a person who is forced to flee from his/her home country due to fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

Who decides the number of refugees that are resettled in Georgia every year?

The U.S. Department of State /Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration determines how many refugees Georgia receives annually and where they will be located.

How is the Refugee Resettlement Program funded?

Georgia’s Refugee Resettlement Program is administered by the Georgia Department of Human Services and is 100 perecent federally funded.

If the state refused to accept federal funds for the resettlement of refugees in Georgia, would the resettlement of refugees in Georgia cease?

No. Under the Refugee Act of 1980 (8 U.S.C. 1522) the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is responsible for providing benefits and services to current and newly-arriving refugees resettled in the state through the State

Department’s Reception and Placement Program, and to refugees who relocate to the state from elsewhere. In most states, the state government receives ORR funding to administer and oversee the refugee program. In states that do not operate a refugee assistance program, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization receives ORR funding to provide oversight and administer the program through an alternative model.

Do refugees automatically receive public assistance when refugees are resettled in Georgia?

Refugees arrive in the U.S. with legal resident status and are entitled to all of the rights afforded to other legal residents. Refugees have access to and are eligible for all services and public assistance that Georgians are entitled to as citizens and are held to the same eligibility guidelines.

What is the difference between a refugee and an undocumented/illegal immigrant and the process used to obtain citizenship?

A refugee has legal standing to be in the U.S. and may earn citizenship upon meeting all of the requirements. An undocumented immigrant does not have legal standing to be in the U.S.

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