Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their home countries because of human rights abuse or fear of future abuse. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees defines refugees as persons who have crossed borders due to a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”

According to the RI Department of Health, Rhode Island in 2005 received 301 refugees.