Every year millions of people around the world are displaced by war, famine, and civil and political unrest. Others are forced to flee their countries in order to escape the risk of death and torture at the hands of persecutors. The United States (U.S.) works with other governmental, international, and private organizations to provide food, health care, and shelter to millions of refugees throughout the world. In addition, the United States considers persons for resettlement to the U.S. as refugees. Those admitted must be of special humanitarian concern and demonstrate that they were persecuted, or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
Each year, the State Department prepares a Report to Congress on proposed refugee admissions, then the U.S. President consults with Congress and establishes the proposed ceilings for refugee admissions for the fiscal year. For the 2005 fiscal year (i.e. October 1, 2004 - September 30, 2005), the total ceiling is set at 70,000 admissions and is allocated to six geographic regions: Africa (20,000 admissions), East Asia (13,000 admissions), Europe and Central Asia (9,500 admissions), Latin America/Caribbean (5,000 admissions), Near East/South Asia (2,500 admissions) and 20,000 reserve.