Russian Asylum Applications in U.S. Hit 24-Year Record

2018/5/6 10:51:04

People queue for visas and other consular services at the U.S. embassy in Moscow. Asylum applications surged by nearly 40 percent last year, the fifth year in a row in which there has been an increase in the number of Russians seeking refuge in the United States.




By Carl Schreck for RFE/RL, May 02, 2018 15:46 GMT


The number of asylum applications by Russian citizens in the United States hit a 24-year high in 2017, jumping nearly 40 percent from the previous year and continuing an upward march that began after Russian President Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012.


U.S. authorities received 2,664 new asylum applications from Russian nationals in the fiscal year ending on September 30, a 39-percent increase compared to 2016.


RFE/RL obtained the 2017 statistics, which have yet to be released publicly, under a Freedom of Information Act request filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


The 2017 figure is more than double the number of first-time applications by Russians since 2012, when Putin was elected to a third presidential term after serving four years as prime minister. It also eclipsed the previous high according to USCIS data for post-Soviet Russia, set in 1994 with 2,127 first-time asylum applications by Russians.


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