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Facts about Guyana Refugees Put Crises in Perspective

Modern media and legislation are flooded with facts about asylum seekers because of refugee crises in the Middle East. The numbers in facts about Guyana refugees, albeit minuscule compared to 24 million Syrians, represents the refugee crisis on a smaller scale.

In 1994, there were 822 asylum applicants out of the South American country of Guyana. This figure drastically dropped over the following seven years, and increased again in 2002, with 847 applications. In the next year, 2003, 729 Guyanese sought asylum to main asylum countries like Canada and France. Additionally, more than 640 of those 729 applicants sought asylum in Canada and 45 applicants sought asylum to France.

The asylum-seeking number plummeted again in 2004, with only 315 total applications. There were even fewer the next year. The total number of asylum applications to main asylum countries in 2005 was just 279.

More recent facts about Guyana refugees show a downward sloping trend. A world database reported the total number of initial and continuing asylum applications of refugees from Guyana in 2015 to be only 122. The database provided a breakdown of which countries received the applications and how many were rejected.

Guyanese asylum seekers filed 46 applications seeking refuge to the United States, 38 to France, 31 to Canada and seven to the United Kingdom. Of those 122 applications, 40 were rejected. The United State rejected five applications, France rejected 19, Canada 10 and six were rejected by the United Kingdom.

According to the Migration Information Source, there were 2.86 million South American immigrants in the United States in the year 2014. Guyana represented 273,000, or 9.6 percent of those South American immigrants. In 2013, five percent of South Americans obtained green cards as refugees or asylees.

In that same year, there were reportedly 700 outgoing refugees from Guyana. More than 180 asylum seekers’ cases were pending at the start of 2014, and 145 asylum seekers’ cases were pending at the end of the year.

In 2014, there were 94 rejections, 27 asylum seekers were recognized and 31 asylum seekers’ applications were marked as closed. In total, 153 decisions were made and during the year and 145 new asylum applications were filed. Of all decisions, 17.6 percent were determined to be recognized refugees, with less than one percent receiving complementary protection status. More than 60 percent were rejected.

Current and ongoing refugee crises in Afghanistan and Syria have flooded the news cycle with facts about asylum seekers. Although small in comparison with three million refugees coming out of Afghanistan, the facts about Guyana refugees represent the crisis on a smaller scale.

Shaun Savarese

Photo: Flickr