Houston Matters

Why is Houston A Top Destination for the World’s Refugees?

According to the Refugee Resettlement Program of Texas, last year the Lone Star state took in more than seven thousand refugees; more than two thousand found their way to Houston. Such refugees, persecuted in their homeland, have been given legal entrance to the United States. They come from homes they didn’t really want to leave, […]

According to the Refugee Resettlement Program of Texas, last year the Lone Star state took in more than seven thousand refugees; more than two thousand found their way to Houston. Such refugees, persecuted in their homeland, have been given legal entrance to the United States. They come from homes they didn’t really want to leave, but had to due to increasing threats or acts of violence against them.

Sources vary on how many refugees, in total, have come to Houston; estimates range from 50,000 to 70,000 since the late 1970s. But the organizers of World Refugee Day Houston, an annual event in June, characterize H-town as a “number one destination” for refugees to re-settle in the United States. According to that organization’s website, for the past two years, Houston has received “more refugees than any other city in the United States.” Once here, refugees add to Houston’s noted cultural diversity.

We discuss who these refugees are that call Houston home, why they come here to “The Big Heart” specifically, and what challenges, opportunities, and services await them in Houston when they do. We also draw a distinction between political refugees, and immigrants who enter the country illegally.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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