Key terms:

Refugee: According to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is “someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”


Internally Displaced People (IDPs): IDPs are individuals who are displaced within the borders of their own country; those who have fled their homes to another part of the country and so exist under the same national government's control.


Asylum: Receiving asylum in the United States is a form of protection available to people who: meet the definition of a refugee and are either already in the United States or are seeking admission at a port of entry.

People apply for asylum when they are entering the United States, or within one year of arrival.