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Refugee Resettlement Program

Worldwide Refugee Crisis

The 1951 Refugee Convention established the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which states that someone is a refugee “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

It is the responsibility of the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Migration & Refugees (PRM) to oversee America’s support of refugees overseas as well as the selection and transportation of refugees to the US, and their assignment to a local community for resettlement. Click here to learn more about the lengthy vetting process for refugees seeking admission to the US.

Local Resettlement Program

The International Institute of St. Louis, our only refugee sponsor in eastern and southwestern Missouri, resettles refugees as a subcontractor of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). Click here to view Institute sponsorships by year.

We meet refugees at the airport and transport them to their new homes, usually a rental unit. Depending on the needs of the refugee family, initial welcoming services can include registration for English classes for adults and public school for children, job program registration, community orientation, and healthcare access.

The US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Migration & Refugees (PRM) provides a modest per capita resettlement grant to each sponsoring agency to help address the refugees’ housing, food and other basic needs for up to 90 days after arrival. Refugees are required by PRM to repay their travel loans beginning less than six months after arrival in the US.

P. Ariel Burgess, VP of Client Services
314-773-9090, ext. 115

How You Can Help

Charitable Donations

Make a donation to the International Institute to support the Institute’s resettlement program. Donations of all sizes are essential. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation today.

Household and Personal Item Wish List

While we purchase beds, tables and chairs, we rely on community donations to fill many of the other needs. View our current IISTL New American Wish List or contact Donishia Warren 314-773-9090, ext. 147.


To learn more about our rewarding volunteer opportunities or to fill out a volunteer application, please click here or contact Carrie Brickey Brown at 314-773-9090, ext. 161.