27 persons from Somalia and Eritrea including a family of four, two couples and 19 single adult men left Malta on Wednesday to start a new life in the United States, under the US Refugee Resettlement Program (USRRP). On arrival, they will be assisted by NGOs in the U.S.A. to proceed to their final destinations in various states.
This latest departure brings the total of beneficiaries of international protection who were resettled to the United States from Malta since 2007 to 985 migrants. Since the start of the USRRP in 2008, the number of beneficiaries of protection resettled to the United States amounts to 957. 174 migrants have been resettled from Malta to the United States of America since the beginning of 2012. More beneficiaries of international protection are expected to leave to the United States in the coming weeks.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Malta, the International Organisation for Migration and US Government officials are involved at various stages of the resettlement process to the United States. In all 1,623 refugees and beneficiaries of international protection have been relocated or resettled to various other developed countries since 2005 – 233 of these since the beginning of the current year.
Seeing the migrants off were Carm Mifsud Bonnici, Minister for Home and Parliamentary Affairs, and U.S. Ambassador Ms. Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley. Minister Mifsud Bonnici thanked the Ambassador and the American people for giving these migrants a unique opportunity to start their lives afresh in the United States.
He said: “Malta with its limited resources, small size and small population cannot sustain a large number of migrants for the long term. The opportunities that these migrants sought when they left on their voyage seeking a better life in Europe simply do not exist in enough numbers in Malta. It is thus remarkable that the United States continues to give fresh hope to these people despite the global economic uncertainty. This spirit of solidarity is commendable.”
HE Ms. Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley said: “The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is very close to my heart and I intend to make every effort to ensure that this program remains active. It represents a continuation of America’s commitment to welcome refugees and to provide a safe haven for those most in need. This program is a success thanks to the collaboration of the Maltese Government and several local and international organisations which offer support to the refugees throughout their time in Malta.”
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