Houston Receives More Refugees Than Any Other City

Houston once again leads the nation in the number of refugees who settle here. And thousands more are expected to arrive in the coming year.

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Texas has been the U.S. State Department’s top pick to resettle refugees. About 7,200 refugees came last year, with more than 2,000 in Houston. Ali Al Sudani is the director of refugee services with Interfaith Ministries
for Greater Houston. He says several factors make Houston appealing as a resettlement city.

“Mainly this is because of good economy, affordable cost of living, diverse city in terms of ethnicities,” Al Sudani says.

Local non-profits help refugees settle here by providing them with everything from English classes to job and healthcare assistance. Sara Kauffman is the area director for Refugee Services of Texas. She says most of them come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma and Bhutan.

“Many of the people we’re helping from Afghanistan, for example, were interpreters or translators for the military or government contractors overseas in Afghanistan. And they were persecuted as a result of that assistance they provided to our military,” Kauffman says.

Kauffman anticipates at least another 2,000 refugees in the coming year, with an increasing number arriving from Syria.



Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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