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HomeNewsSurge of Kenyan Refugees Flocking to the US

Surge of Kenyan Refugees Flocking to the US

Surge of Kenyan Refugees Flocking to the US

In 2023, the United States welcomed a higher number of refugees, most of whom originated from camps in Kenya, compared to the figures from the two years prior.

In 2023, Minnesota resettled more than 1,500 refugees, a number that significantly surpassed both the 2022 figure (which was triple the previous year’s count) and far exceeded the 258 refugees who arrived in 2021.

As per the Star Tribune, a publication in the United States, the increased figures were due to President Joe Biden’s choice to elevate the limit for refugee admissions to 125,000 after assuming office in 2021.

The largest group among the arrivals were individuals from Somalia, who had previously resided in camps such as Dadaab in Kenya after fleeing their war-torn homeland, totaling 443. Additionally, there were others from Congo and Ethiopia.

As per Ben Walen, the division director for refugee services at the Minnesota Council of Churches, Minnesota is preparing to welcome 2,400 fresh refugees in the year 2024.

An aerial view of Dadaab Refugee Camp.

Across the country, the United States has seen a rise in the arrival of refugees following the period when former President Donald Trump restricted initiatives aimed at resettling migrants.

From 2021 onward, Biden has regularly adjusted the maximum number of refugees allowed to enter the country. However, the actual number of people admitted has fallen below this limit due to various obstacles, including issues related to staffing.

“I think the Biden administration has made it clear that it’s seen as more as a goal (hitting the refugee admissions ceiling); that’s the number we want to see arrive in that year,” observed Rebekah Phillips, director of refugee services at Arrive Ministries.


“So I think there was a lot of resources put around that to make that happen both locally here in Minnesota and also at the national level … and even those who are doing overseas processes for refugees started to add to their staff capacities.”

“We saw the refugee resettlement pathway come back to life a little bit, and I think that’s the reason for the increases we did see. Now I think it’s challenging to go from a trickle to a full faucet of water again,” she added.

The movement of people is probably impacted by the Kenyan Government’s intention to close two significant refugee camps, Dadaab and Kakuma, which currently accommodate over 500,000 people.

Since 2021, the Kenyan Government has been considering the closure of these centers as a measure to reduce the risk of terrorism throughout the country. This decision is expected to impact the refugees, predominantly comprising individuals from Somalia.

The proposal aimed to establish a unified community where refugees would be anticipated to live alongside the residents.

Previously, ex-Interior PS Karanja Kibicho disclosed that intelligence agencies’ investigation found that the planning for the 2013 Westgate attack, the 2015 Garissa University attack, and the Dusit D2 attack originated from the Dadaab camp.

Surge of Kenyan Refugees Flocking to the US