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The problem of refugees is a worldwide phenomenon. The

twentieth century has been called the century of refugees. Its

history is replete with mass displacements of peoples fleeing war,

political oppression, human rights deprivations or disasters of one

kind or another. Currently, there are about seventeen million refugees

around the world. The specter of masses of refugees huddled

at national boundaries seeking asylum is common to the experience

of many nations. The United States, being a nation of

immigrants and a land of opportunity, is certainly not immune

from such pressures, as most recently illustrated by the exodus of

the Haitian boat people destined for U.S. shores.