Where refugees in Rhode Island are arriving from

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July 20, 2022
hanohiki // Shutterstock

Where refugees in Rhode Island are arriving from

"Give me your tired, your poor / your huddled masses yearning to be free …" Such were the words of Emma Lazarus, written in 1883 and enshrined in American history in 1930, in the form of a bronze plaque affixed to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The implication of these words still evokes a sense of national pride and identity, even if their intended target—refugees—has become an unfortunately politicized group in recent history.

The U.S. opened its arms to more than 207,000 souls in 1980, according to historic data tracked by the Refugee Processing Center, most of whom came here from Asia. At the time, the Soviet-Afghan War had begun along with the insurgency of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia that resulted in the mass genocide of nearly 2 million in the late 1970s. Vietnam was not yet a distant memory, and echoes of what would spark the civil war in Sri Lanka were already beginning to be heard.

That year, the U.S. was itself in flux. The country was moving from the well-intentioned-if-ultimately conflicted Carter years to the Regan era, which severely curtailed the acceptance of refugees: the national number of refugees dropped by more than two-thirds between 1980 and 1983.

Now, nearly 40 years later, the world finds itself yet again in the throes of a distant international conflict—this time in Ukraine—and the U.S., as it always has, again struggles with the degree to which its leaders will allow it to live up to Emma Lazarus' song.

As of June 30, 2022, just over 15,000 refugees have been accepted into the country since the beginning of the year, a mere fraction of the numbers admitted less than a generation ago. To a limited degree, COVID-19 still plays a role in this reduction; to a larger degree, politics is the culprit. Still each state in the nation accepts its fair share of refugees. Stacker referenced data from The Refugee Processing Center to compile statistics on the number of refugees and their countries of origin resettled in Rhode Island in June 2022.

June refugee statistics
Countries where refugees arrived from in June
Rhode Island
#1. Guatemala: 4

National
#1. Democratic Republic of the Congo: 808
#2. Syria: 518
#3. Afghanistan: 261
#4. Ukraine: 142
#5. Burma: 111

States that accepted the most refugees in June
#1. Texas: 267
#2. California: 235
#3. New York: 155
#4. Pennsylvania: 110
#5. Illinois: 106

Read on to see the countries that Rhode Island has accepted the most refugees from since October

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Katja Tsvetkova // Shutterstock

#1. Democratic Republic of the Congo

Refugees that arrived from Democratic Republic of the Congo since October
Rhode Island: 23

National: 3,735
Top states
#1. Kentucky: 440
#2. Texas: 381
#3. Arizona: 218
#4. Michigan: 199
#5. New York: 196

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hanohiki // Shutterstock

#2. Syria

Refugees that arrived from Syria since October
Rhode Island: 19

National: 3,525
Top states
#1. California: 399
#2. Michigan: 351
#3. Pennsylvania: 266
#4. New York: 252
#5. Texas: 237

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aleksander hunta // Shutterstock

#3. Cambodia

Refugees that arrived from Cambodia since October
Rhode Island: 9

National: 28
Top states
#1. Rhode Island: 9
#2. Texas: 7
#3. Georgia: 5
#4. North Carolina: 4
#5. New Mexico: 3

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Lauren Squire // Shutterstock

#4. Guatemala

Refugees that arrived from Guatemala since October
Rhode Island: 7

National: 701
Top states
#1. California: 148
#2. Texas: 94
#3. New Jersey: 53
#4. Georgia: 38
#5. Pennsylvania: 33

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