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Highlights

GAO discussed emigration patterns from Eastern European countries. GAO found that: (1) changing political circumstances and worsening economic conditions in several Eastern European countries led to a dramatic exodus of those countries' citizens; (2) much of the migration appeared to be toward ethnic homelands, rather than to the United States; (3) because many entered Austria and West Germany seeking resettlement, Austria stopped granting refugee status to certain asylum applicants; (4) West Germany provided East German emigrants with West German citizenship, social security and retirement benefits, job training, priority for housing, and subsistence stipends; (5) over 260,000 other Eastern Europeans arrived in West Germany in the first 9 months of 1989, and most of the 17,034 Poles currently registered for U.S. entry consideration were in West Germany; (6) the United States admitted an average of 8,700 Eastern Europeans per year, the majority of which were Poles and Hungarians; (7) as of September 1989, 25,455 Eastern Europeans had registered as refugees and were awaiting Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) interviews; (8) although the refugee ceiling was 6,500, INS had committed about 5,000 slots to approved refugees pending admission at the end of fiscal year 1989; and (9) the United States decided to reassess its policies for Eastern European applicants due to dramatically changing circumstances in Poland and Hungary.

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