By Associated Press - Tuesday, December 29, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota is expected to get more refugees in 2016 than it has in any year in the past decade.

The increase is a ripple effect of the migration wave sweeping the Middle East and Europe, the Star Tribune ( ) reports.

The federal government is aiming to admit 15,000 more refugees next year on top of the 70,000 typically accepted due to the Obama administration committing to aid Syrian refugees. Now, Minnesota is gearing up for more refugees.

Resettlement groups expect the mix of refugees’ nationalities to remain mostly the same in Minnesota. In the fiscal year that ended in September, about 45 percent of refugees were from Somalia, and about 40 percent were Karen refugees from Myanmar.

Minnesota resettled nine Syrians this year, and hasn’t heard that more will arrive.

“The reality is that it is unlikely many Syrian refugees will come to Minnesota, since refugees most often resettle where there is an established community,” said Bob Oehrig, executive director of resettlement group Arrive Ministries.

Officials at some agencies say it makes sense to continue to focus on nationalities that have a large presence in Minnesota.

“If you don’t resettle them here, many of them make their way here within weeks of getting resettled in another state,” said Jane Graupman, executive director of the International Institute of Minnesota. “All of that uprooting is not good for anyone.”

The number of refugees coming to Minnesota fell in the late 2000s, but has rebounded. There were 2,338 refugees in the last fiscal year, about 60 more than in the previous year. The state remains near the top in the U.S. for refugee resettlement - measured as a share of state population.

Agencies in the Twin Cities area anticipate further increases this fiscal year. Some have agreed to raise arrival numbers of refugees as much as 20 percent, though others say they plan to keep growth to a minimum amid concerns over a drop in the supply of affordable housing.

A gradual decrease in arrivals from Myanmar is expected in the coming years, with the country considered stable enough to halt new refugee registrations.


Information from: Star Tribune,

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