Processing Soviet Refugees

Gao ID: T-NSIAD-89-21 March 30, 1989

GAO discussed its review of U.S. processing of Soviet refugees. GAO found that: (1) the United States admitted over 20,000 Soviet refugees in fiscal year 1988, and that number was expected to increase; (2) the Administration requested about $85 million in supplemental funds to support about 18,000 additional refugee allocations; (3) the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) denied from 10 to 13 percent of Soviet refugee applications at the embassies GAO visited; (4) INS and consular officials believed that most Soviet applicants were economic, rather than political refugees; (5) most applicants rejected humanitarian parole status because they could not obtain the required affidavits, or lacked relatives who were able to support them financially; (6) in 1988, INS began adjudicating Soviet refugee applications on a case-by-case basis; (7) INS inconsistently applied its adjudication procedures, as evidenced by the high rate of reversals on appeal; and (8) INS cited inexperience, inadequate training, work loads, and lack of evidence supporting claims as reasons for the inconsistent adjudications.

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