A father carries a girl across a river with a group of migrants

The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

A woman carries a pot on her head with a baby on her back in mexico

Upholding America’s Tradition of Leadership in Humanitarian Affairs

The 1980 Refugee Act, with the 1962 Migration and Refugee Assistance Act, paved the way for the creation of the Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, allowing the Department to respond to humanitarian crises across the globe.

The Act established the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and defined “refugee” in U.S. law as a person with a “well-founded fear of persecution” to match international conventions and protocols.

Since 1980, the United States has resettled more than three million refugees – about 75% of all refugees resettled worldwide.

The Congress declares that it is the historic policy of the United States to respond to the urgent needs of persons subject to persecution in their homelands…”

—Title I, The United States Refugee Act of 1980

Today, the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration provides protection, eases suffering, and resolves the plight of millions of crisis-affected displaced people around the world on behalf of the American people.

We work with governments and international organizations to find durable solutions for displaced people, build global partnerships, ensure compliance with international norms and standards, and promote best practices in humanitarian response.

The United States is the world’s largest single humanitarian donor. In Fiscal Year 2020 alone, PRM provided more than $3.7 billion as part of America’s leadership in humanitarian crisis response. From Afghanistan to Yemen, Venezuela to Syria, South Sudan to Bangladesh, and beyond, our efforts continue to make a life-saving difference.

Exhibit Artifacts

About the Spotlight

Throughout the year, the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD) highlights different stories and artifacts of diplomacy through our rotating exhibit: Spotlight on Diplomacy.

This exhibit can be viewed by State Department staff at the 21st street entrance of the Harry S Truman Building. To allow more of the public to view these stories during the pandemic, this exhibit is also available here on our website for virtual viewing.