The U.S. provides refuge to persons who have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution through two programs: one for refugees and one for asylees, both allow for the affected person and their immediate relatives to be allowed into U.S.
A total of 56,384 persons were admitted to the U.S. as refugees during 2011. The leading countries of nationality for refugees were Burma,
Bhutan, and Iraq. The leading countries of nationality for persons granted either affirmative or defensive asylum were China, Venezuela, and Ethiopia.
To be eligible as a refugee or asylee the person is either unable to unwilling to return to their homeland because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group or political opinion.
Cuba had the most refugees (2,920) accepted into the U.S. from a Latin American country; there was an increase of 5.2% from last year. Where as Venezuela, Colombia and Guatemala were the Latin America countries where most asylees from Latin America came from. Venezuela was second only to China with 1,107 asylees and China with 8,601.