The Refugee Influx - Refugees From The Former Soviet Unionand Eastern Europe
ethnic united kosovo kosovar
On December 21, 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR, or the Soviet Union) was dissolved. The fifteen USSR republics became independent countries. These countries were also referred to as the Newly Independent States (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan) and the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania).
Unfortunately, the chaos and turmoil in the new republics led to ethnic conflict, increased anti-Semitism, and persecution of certain Christian groups. On July 1, 2002, about 2,300 Baku Armenians in Russia received Priority 2 status for admission to the United States (2002 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, Washington, DC: Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, 2003). This group of displaced ethnic Armenians evacuated from Azerbaijan between 1988 and 1992 but was never permanently resettled. The president proposed that 14,000 people from the former Soviet Union be admitted to the United States in FY 2003, of which 11,500 were "Lautenberg-eligible cases."
From the beginning of January to late May of 1999, Serbian forces and the Yugoslav military expelled more than 780,000 ethnic Albanians from the Serbian province of Kosovo in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. In the largest European refugee exodus since the Bosnian war (1992–95), the homeless Kosovars fled to Albania (about 442,000), Macedonia (250,000), Montenegro (70,000), and Bosnia-Herzegovina (21,700). The ethnic Albanians had accounted for 90% of the Kosovar population.
In April 1999 the U.S. government offered to relocate as many as 20,000 Kosovar refugees to the United States. The priority lists consisted of those with families in America as well as persons in vulnerable circumstances. About 14,000 Kosovar refugees resettled in the United States.
In June 1999 the Yugoslav government accepted a peace agreement following seventy-eight days of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) bombing of military installations and other facilities throughout Serbia. To encourage refugees to return to Kosovo once the crisis was resolved, the U.S. Department of State funded the trip for those who left the United States before May 1, 2000. About 2,600 returned to their home country.