Refugee and Immigrant Definitions

  • Asylees are persons who are in the United States and make their claim for refugee protection here, rather than from overseas. Like refugees, asylum applicants seek protection based on persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a social group.
  • Parolees are persons who normally would not be admissible to the United States but are allowed to enter temporarily for humanitarian, medical, and legal reasons. Parole does not constitute a formal admission to the United States and confers temporary admission status only.
  • Immigrants are those persons admitted to the United States as lawful, permanent residents. They may be issued immigrant visas by the Department of State overseas or adjusted to permanent resident status by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the United States. Immigration preference is given to close family members of United States residents and to persons with needed job skills.

Refugee Arrivals in Massachusetts

The following tables provide information on refugee arrivals in Massachusetts by country of origin and year of arrival. In addition to persons with refugee status, the tables also include data on other persons eligible for refugee program services and benefits: certain Amerasians, Cuban/Haitian entrants, and persons arriving with derivative asylee status. Note that immigrants are not included in these tables. The numbers are static and do not account for migration in or out of Massachusetts.


Program components of the Refugee and Immigrant Health Program

Point of Notification

The Refugee and Immigrant Health Program receives notification from U.S. Public Health Service Quarantine Stations of all refugees arriving to Massachusetts from overseas. Local health departments are, in turn, notified by the RIHP of arrivals to facilitate follow-up of identified health conditions such as tuberculosis and incomplete immunizations.

Health Assessments

The health status of new arrivals is monitored through the initial health assessment. The assessment provides the opportunity for early identification of communicable and other conditions which, if undetected, can negatively impact on the public health as well as on the refugee's well being and ability to achieve self-sufficiency. Effective July 1, 1995, health assessment services are delivered through a network of providers under contract to the Department of Public Health.

Refugee Health Assessment: A Guide for Health Care Clinicians
The Refugee Health Assessment Program Manual is a guide for health care clinicians. It provides information on the Refugee Health Assessment in Massachusetts.

Outreach, Interpreting and Follow-up

The Refugee and Immigrant Health Program has a significant outreach component staffed by trained bilingual, bicultural individuals who provide the primary link between their respective communities and the health care delivery system. Health education, outreach, clinical interpreting, treatment monitoring and follow-up is provided for refugees from Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union, Haiti, Cuba, Somalia, Iraq and Bosnia to control tuberculosis and hepatitis B, to increase understanding of and compliance with medical recommendations and to provide basic information to the local health care.

Data and Statistics

This information is provided by the Refugee and Immigrant Health Program within the Department of Public Health.