Frequently Asked Questions
95% of CAPI’s clients live below the federal poverty guidelines.
In 2008, CAPI changed its name from the Center for Asians and Pacific Islanders to simply CAPI.
CAPI is for everyone. 60% of our clients are from refugee and immigrant populations, however, 40% are low-income native-born Minnesotans.
The latest data from 2011 estimates that there are 42.5 million people in need of international protection and assistance. Approximately 15.2 million are considered refugees and 26.4 million are internally displaced people.
Under international law, a refugee is someone who is, unable or unwilling to return to and avail himself or herself of the protection of his or her home country or, if stateless, country of last habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Often, a refugee is someone who has been forced from their home country by war, civil conflict, political strife, or gross human rights abuses. Even survivors of natural disasters are not in the same position. However great their needs may be in terms of food, shelter, and health care, their governments are usually sympathetic towards them. However, natural disasters occurring in conjunction with civil strife or persecution may exacerbate a refugee situation.
People who have taken up permanent residence in a country other than their own home country are immigrants. This is slightly different from migrants who come for a variety of reasons for a certain period of time (typically no less than a year).
Refugees and migrants are fundamentally different, and for that reason are treated very differently under modern international law – even if they often travel in the same way. Migrants, especially economic migrants, choose to move in order to improve the future prospects of themselves and their families.
Internally displaced persons or IDPs are forced to flee their homes just as refugees must. However, IDPs do not cross an international boundary and are displaced within their own country. IDPs face similar hardships to refugees, without the same protection under international law. Because of their unique situation, it is often very difficult for international organizations to provide assistance to IDPs.
Someone who is not considered as a national (a citizen) by ANY state or possibly someone who does not enjoy the fundamental rights enjoyed by other nationals in their home state. Some of these people have virtually no rights because they do not officially exist within national systems. They may have never moved from the place they were born or may have moved due to situations that qualify them as refugees.
People seeking asylum say they are refugees, but that claim has yet to be evaluated. Organizations like the UNHCR decide which asylum seekers qualify for international protection as refugees. In situations involving tens or hundreds of thousands of people, individual assessment is impossible and the entire group may be granted refugee status. In the United States, asylum is a form of protection that allows individuals who are already here to remain in the U.S., provided that they meet the definition of a refugee and are not barred from either applying for or being granted asylum, and eventually to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident. Every year, thousands of people come to the United States in need of protection and those found eligible for asylum are permitted to remain in the United States.