The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)


In the past 25 years, over 1.8 million refugees have resettled in the United States.

In order to be designated a refugee, people must have a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of origin because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Refugees legally enter the United States in search of freedom, peace, and opportunity for themselves and their families.

Persons are admitted as refugees after they are granted status by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the U.S. Department of State and by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


The Office of Refugee Resettlement is committed to helping refugees, Cuban/Haitian entrants, asylees, victims of torture, unaccompanied alien children, and victims of human trafficking by providing them with the social services necessary for them to establish a new life in America founded on dignity, self sufficiency, and opportunity.


The Office of Refugee Resettlement provides assistance to refugees and other eligible persons through its various programs and grants, so that they can achieve self-sufficiency and integration within the shortest time period after arriving in the United States.


The Office of Refugee Resettlement is comprised of four divisions and two major program areas, which are described below:

Division of Refugee Assistance

The Division of Refugee Assistance (DRA) was created to monitor and provide technical assistance to State-administered and State-alternative programs. DRA develops guidance and procedures for program implementation, manages special initiatives to increase refugee self-sufficiency, such as demonstration or pilot programs, and manages the unaccompanied minors program to ensure that refugee and entrant unaccompanied minors are provided with appropriate care and services.

Division of Community Resettlement

The Division of Community Resettlement (DCR) administers ORR’s discretionary (competitive) grant programs. DCR provides assistance through public and private non-profit agencies to support the economic and social integration of refugees. Major programs include the Matching Grant Program, Services for Survivors of Torture program, the Wilson/Fish Program, Refugee Rural Initiative, Microenterprise, and Preferred Communities.

Division of Budget, Policy & Analysis

The Division of Budget, Policy, and Data Analysis (DBPDA) is responsible for the allocation and tracking of funds for refugee cash and medical assistance, as well as State administrative costs; forecasting and executing ORR’s annual budget; developing regulations and legislative proposals; and routinely interpreting policy. DBPDA is also responsible for the preparation of the ORR Annual Report to Congress, the ORR Refugee Arrivals Data System, and the Refugee Healthy Marriage grant program.

Division of Unaccompanied Children’s Services

The Division of Unaccompanied Children’s Services (DUCS) recognizes the importance of providing a safe and appropriate environment for unaccompanied alien children during the interim period between the minor's transfer into ORR care and their release from custody or removal from the United States by the Department of Homeland Security. DUCS strives to provide the best care and placement of these unaccompanied alien children, who are in Federal custody by reason of their immigration status, while taking into account the unique nature of each child's situation in making placement, case management, and release decisions.

Anti-Trafficking in Persons

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program helps certify victims of “a severe form of trafficking,” so that these individuals are able to receive federally funded benefits and services to the same extent as a refugee and can begin rebuilding their lives safely in the U.S. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program is committed to promoting public awareness by educating social service providers, public health officials, legal organizations, as well as ethnic, faith-based, and community organizations.


The Office of Refugee Resettlement oversees the federal government’s U.S. Repatriation Program. This Program was established under the Social Security Act (“Assistance for U.S. Citizens Returned from Foreign Countries”), to provide temporary assistance to U.S. citizens and their dependents who have been identified by the Department of State (DOS) as having returned, or been brought from a foreign country to the U.S. because of destitution, illness, war, threat of war, or a similar crisis.


Office of Refugee Resettlement
Administration for Children and Families
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20447
Phone: 202.401.9246
Fax: 202.401.5487

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Updated January 2007
Office of Public Affairs (OPA)

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