What does Refugee mean?
A refugee, as defined by the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, is "a person outside of his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."
In the United States an individual is not allowed refugee status if they have assisted or committed actions of persecution against another group of individuals due to their "race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."
Refugees should not be confused with a migrant. Migrants move from place to place for economic reasons to improve the financial prospects of their families. Refugees are generally moving to a new country or physical location to protect their freedoms or their lives. Given this difference, countries generally treat each group differently under their national laws.
Every year there are millions of individuals who seek refugee status in the United States. Each year the President of the United States works with Congress to determine the number of refugees which will be allowed to enter the United States within a fiscal year. Refugees can come from Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America and South Asia in numbers determined by Congress. These numbers can vary each year.