This article addresses an urgent humanitarian crisis affecting unaccompanied or abused refugee children and widowed, divorced, abandoned or abused female heads of refugee households. Such women and children suffer the consequences of the post-9/11 U.S. refugee resettlement backlog more severely than the general refugee population. They are far more at risk of life-threatening harm such as trafficking, sexual exploitation and rape. Moreover, they are far less likely to present a threat to U.S. national security than many people who are able to secure visas to the United States quickly and with fewer background checks. Despite their vulnerability and lack of security threat, however, they continue to languish in extremely dangerous refugee camps. This article proposes a solution that would allow such women and children to avoid the resettlement delays and enter the United States through an expedited visa system. The expedited visa system would reduce the refugee backlog and do so in a way that ensures that the most vulnerable refugees receive protection at the earliest possible opportunity.


Human Rights Law | Immigration Law | International Law | Juvenile Law | Law and Gender

Date of this Version

February 2005