The process of how refugees enter the United States — especially when they're fleeing Syria — is suddenly getting a lot of attention in light of terrorist attacks in Paris in last week. But resettlement of refugees from that war-wracked country and others has been taking place for years.
For fiscal 2016, the proposed ceiling on refugees is 85,000, though only a minority of those individuals will come from Syria. Of the political refugees accepted by the United States in fiscal 2015, roughly a third came from Africa, more than a quarter from East Asia and more than a third from "Near East/South Asia," which includes the Middle East, according to the nonpartisan American Immigration Council.
For refugee families from Syria and elsewhere coming to the United States, an early priority of the federal government is to get those individuals integrated into the U.S. economy as soon as possible.