Refugee: A person who cannot return to his or her country because of persecution or the well founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. A refugee receives this status before entering the U.S.

In addition to refugees the following groups may be eligible for refugee benefits and services: Asylee, Cuban/Haitian Entrant, Certain Amerasians from Vietnam, Certified Victims of a Severe Form of Trafficking, Permanent Residents.

Alien: A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.

Alien Registration Receipt Card: An Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) document that certifies lawful permanent resident status, commonly called the "green card."

Amerasian:: A child fathered by a U.S. citizen in certain Southeast Asian countries (e.g. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) during conflicts in that region. Amerasians are granted Lawful/Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Asylee: A foreign-born resident who is not a United States citizen and who cannot return to his or her country because of persecution or a "well founded fear" of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, as determined by the Department of State or the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). An asylee receives asylum (also called "political asylum") status after entering the United States.

Case Management Agency: An agency under contract with ORI to perform certain functions under MRRP including, but not limited to, (1) working with refugees and employment service agencies to develop a Family Employment Plan designed to employ at least one adult in the shortest possible time and lead to self-sufficiency for the family; (2) tracking the progress of the clients in relation to their Family Employment Plan; (3) linking refugees with appropriate services and programs; (4) determining initial and ongoing eligibility for Refugee Cash Assistance.

Cuban/Haitian Entrant: All nationals of Cuba and Haiti who applied for asylum, or are in exclusion or deportation proceedings but have not received a final order of deportation, as well as persons who are granted parole status or special status under the United States immigration laws for Cubans and Haitians. Cuban/Haitian entrants are eligible for federal benefits in the same way as refugees.

Department of State: A Federal agency whose Bureau of Refugee programs coordinates with voluntary agencies, state localities the reception and placement of refugees.

Deportation: The formal removal of an alien from the United States when the presence of that alien is deemed inconsistent with the public welfare. deportation is ordered by an immigration judge without any punishment being imposed or contemplated.

Diversity Transition: A transition towards the permanent diversity program in fiscal year 1995, allocating 40,000 visas annually during the period 1992-1994 to nationals of certain countries identified as having been "adversely affected" by the Immigration and nationality Act Amendments of 1965 (P.L. 89-236). at least 40 percent of the visas must be allocated to natives of Ireland.

Domestic Assistance: Federal programs that provide cash and medical assistance as well as social services to individual refugees and entrants.

Durable Self-Sufficiency: Family's gross income exceeds 450% of the Federal Poverty Level for the state.

Early Employment: Job placement within six (6) months after the date of arrival in U.S.

Employment Services for New Refugee Families (ESNRF): Employment services including pre-employment job skills training and post-placement follow-up for employable TAFDC-eligible refugees. The program encourages, (1) early employment, by focusing on entry level jobs and (2) self-sufficiency, by focusing on successful job retention and upgrades.

English for Employment (EE): Language instruction for those refugees determined to be in need of such services in order to be considered employable.

Entrant: See Cuban/Haitian Entrant.

Employment Support Services Program (ESSP): Employment services including pre-employment job skills and post-employment job retention and upgrade skills training for refugees and immigrants with time limited TAFDC benefits. The program helps clients enter the work force and retain their employment, advancing them toward economic self-sufficiency.

ESL: English as a Second Language.

Extended Voluntary Departure (EVD): A special temporary provision granted administratively to designated national groups physically present in the United States because the U. S. State Department judged conditions in the countries of origin to be "unstable" or "uncertain" or to have shown a pattern of "denial of rights." Aliens in EVD status are temporarily allowed to remain in the United States until conditions in their home country change. Certain aliens holding EVD status from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Poland, and Uganda, who have resided in the United States since July 1, 1984, were eligible to adjust to temporary, and then to permanent resident status under the legalization program. The term "deferred enforced departure" (DED) has replaced EVD in general use.

Federal Poverty Level: Income level reference used by the federal government in eligibility determinations for certain means-tested benefit programs, e.g.: Food Stamps.

Full-time Employment: Employment which is at least thirty-five hours per week.

Governor's Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants (GAC): An appointed body established in 1983 by Executive Order 229 to advise the governor and the Office for Refugees and Immigrants on policy and programs for refugees and immigrants.

I-94: The INS control document that records every person's arrival in and departure from the United States. It identifies the period of time for which the person is admitted and the person's immigration status.

Immigration Act of 1990: Public Law 101-649 (Act of November 29, 1990), which increased the total immigration to the United States under an overall flexible cap, revised all grounds for exclusion and deportation, authorized temporary protected status to aliens of designated countries, revised and established new nonimmigrant admission categories; revised and extended the Visa Waiver Pilot Program; and revised naturalization authority and requirements.

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS): The federal agency under the Department of Justice that administers immigration law.

Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986: Public Law 99-603 (Act of 11/6/86), which passed in order to control and deter illegal immigration to the United States. Its major provisions stipulate legalization of undocumented aliens, legalization of certain agricultural workers, sanctions for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers, and increased enforcement at U.S. borders.

Job Placement: Employment which is at least twenty hours per week.

Legal Permanent Resident means: a person who the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has granted permission to permanently reside in the U.S. as an immigrant.

Mutual Assistance Association (MAA): Ethnic-based associations that galvanize ethnic community support for resettlement and provide services to refugees.

Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI): The state agency which oversees refugee resettlement in Massachusetts. The ORI mission is to, (1) support the effective resettlement of refugees and immigrants in the state, (2) promote the full participation of these New Americans in the economic, civic, social, and cultural life of the Commonwealth, and (3) foster a public environment that recognizes the ethnic and cultural diversity of the state.

Massachusetts Refugee Resettlement Program (MRRP): A community-based case management and employment services program , which promotes economic self-sufficiency for refugees and their families through, (1) early entry into the workforce and (2) post-placement services, to help them find, get, and keep better jobs once they are working.

Match Grant: A public/private partnership agreement between a VOLAG and the Department of State under which refugee resettlement costs are shared between government and a community.

Naturalization: The act of becoming a citizen, other than by birth.

Non-Immigrant: A person authorized to be in the U.S. temporarily and for specific purpose, such as student or tourist.

Parolee: An alien who has been given permission to enter the United States under emergency conditions or when that alien's entry is considered to be in public interest.

Part-time Employment: Employment which is less than thirty-five and at least twenty hours per week.

Post-Employment English for Self-Sufficiency (PEESS): Additional English instruction to employed refugees and include Vocational English Language Training (VELT) which may be needed for job upgrades. Refugees who achieve early employment are given top priority for post-employment English training.

Post-Employment Vocational Skills Training (PEVST): Services that provide the working refugee with short-term, job-targeted skills (including related VELT) in a specific marketable vocation that will secure a current job and/or lead to an upgraded job. Refugees who achieve early employment are given top priority for PEVST.

PRUCOL: "Persons permanently residing under color of law" (PRUCOL) refers to persons residing in the U.S. who are known to the immigration authorities and whose extended presence in the U.S. is tolerated by those authorities although they have not been granted legal status.

Reception and Placement (R&P): The initial resettlement process and period (generally thirty days) during which a VOLAG or other sponsor under an agreement with the United States Department of State is responsible for assisting a refugee.

Refugee: A foreign-born resident who is not a U.S. citizen and who cannot return to his or her country because of persecution or the well founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, as determined by the State Department of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). A refugee receives this status before entering the United States.

Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA): A program of temporary financial support for eligible members of the MRRP. Case Management Agencies determine eligibility and grant amount. (Also called Transitional Cash Assistance)

Refugee Employment Services: Services provided to refugees by MRRP Employment Services agencies to help them find a job and achieve self-sufficiency. Refugee Employment Services has four components: 1) Refugee Job Services; 2) English for Employment; 3) Post-Employment English for Self-Sufficiency; and 4) Post-Employment Vocational Skills Training.

Refugee Job Services (RJS): A wide range of services to refugees, including: teaching skills important to get, retain and upgrade a job; job development; job placement; and post-placement follow-up with the employer and client to ensure long term success and to promote the attainment of family self-sufficiency.

Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA): A program of temporary medical assistance for eligible members of the MRRP that are not eligible for Medicaid. Case Management Agencies determine eligibility. (Also called Transitional Cash Assistance)

Secondary Migrant: Refugee who initially settles elsewhere in the United States and subsequently moves to Massachusetts, or moves within Massachusetts yet outside of the jurisdiction of the agency that was responsible for his or her initial resettlement agency.

Self-Sufficiency: Family's gross income exceeds 150% of the Federal Poverty Level for the state.

Sponsor: The person or organization that assists an applicant in their admission to the United States.

Targeted Assistance Discretionary Grant (TAG D): Competitive federal grants that are designated for states or counties that contract out the funds to local and private agencies. The grant is intended to meet the special needs of individual refugees or refugee groups that are unmet through other programs. The purposes for which the funding has been used include employment, mental health, and microenterprise development.

Targeted Assistance Formula Grant (TAG F): Another source of federal funding for eligible counties. The grant is for intensive, individualized employment services for refugees with multiple barriers.

TAFDC: Transitional Assistance to Families with Dependent Children, formerly Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).

Transitional Cash Assistance: See Refugee Cash Assistance.

Transitional Medical Assistance: See Refugee Medical Assistance.

Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program (URMP): A federally funded program that offers foster care and other services to refugee children who arrive in this country without their parents.

Undocumented Aliens: Foreign-born people who entered the U.S. unknown to authorities or have no current authorization from immigration authorities to be in the U.S.

Victim of a Severe Form of Trafficking means: a person subject to force, fraud or coercion for sex trafficking and/or involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery who is certified as a victim by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Visa: A document authorizing a person to enter and remain in the U.S. for certain periods of time.

Volag: National voluntary resettlement agency that has entered into a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement with the Department of State or other appropriate federal agency to provide for the reception, initial placement and resettlement processing of refugees in the United State. The Volag assigns continuing responsibility for the refugee to a local affiliated Volag or sponsor.

Wilson/Fish Alternative Project: An alternative approach to the state-administered refugee services program, that allows grantees to develop their own regulations as well as service and assistance components.


This information is provided by the Office for Refugees and Immigrants.