U.S. Assistance Provided for Resettling Soviet Refugees

ID-76-85: Published: Jun 20, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 1977.

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If far-reaching, ongoing resettlement and absorption programs for Soviet refugees continue to be authorized, Congress may want to provide more specific criteria for the use of grant funds.

In 1972, Congress initiated a program to provide assistance for resettling Soviet refugees. The distribution of the $155 million the United States spent in the intervening 5 years to help resettle Soviet refugees was: $121 million to resettle refugees in Israel; $24 million to resettle them in other countries; and $10 million to transport the refugees. Since 1971, 131,000 persons have emigrated from the Soviet Union, of which 106,000 went to Israel. U.S. funds are used in a program, run for many years by the Jewish Agency for Israel, which includes care and maintenance en route and after arrival, and which helps the refugees to resettle and be absorbed into society. No specific criteria spell out what resettlement is, nor has the level of U.S. funding been related to the number of refugees; thus, it is difficult to evaluate the administration of the program. The State Department has used international voluntary agencies and their local cooperating agencies or sponsors to resettle the Soviet refugees in the United States. About 4,000 of the 7,000 Soviet immigrants who left Israel to resettle in other countries received U.S. assistance while awaiting further resettlement.

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