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U.S. Denies Refugee Status to 200 Soviet Jews, Armenians

Associated Press

U.S. authorities have declared more than 200 Soviet Jews and Armenians unqualified for admission to the United States as refugees because they were unable to demonstrate “a well-founded fear of persecution,” a State Department official said Friday night.

But they could be eligible to enter the country through a system known as parole, said Charles Redman, the State Department spokesman.

One way or another, the official said, “we continue to admit all Soviet Jewish applicants who choose to come to the United States.”

The issue was raised by the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews. The private group released two petitions from Soviet Jews in Italy awaiting entrance visas to the United States.

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Redman said of more than 4,000 applications in Rome in October and November, less than 200 were found not to qualify for refugee status. But, he said, “if this occurs, the applicants are, without exception, given the opportunity to apply for parole.”

However, Redman said, entering as a refugee provides certain benefits that are not available under parole.

To be granted parole, the U.S. official said, applicants must show they would be supported by a relative or a sponsor in the event jobs were not found.


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