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The world is awash in refugees. According to the most recent estimates, more than fifteen million individuals are already outside their countries and in need of international protection and assistance. This population, already immense, is growing steadily and remorselessly with the proliferation of refugee-producing and migration-facilitating conditions: political repression, armed conflict, civil strife, environmental disaster, famine, social and economic disintegration, wretched governmental policies, and improvements in communications and transportation opportunities. Refugee emergencies have become so endemic that the rhetoric of crisis today is as likely to numb as it is to energize.

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