Fewer refugees finding solace in Sacramento County

The steady flow of refugees fleeing persecution into Sacramento has fallen dramatically, new state figures show.

Sacramento — which once had possibly the highest concentration in the nation — has seen the number of new refugees drop from 2,247 in 2004 to 492 in 2008, the lowest in 25 years.

The shifting sands of geopolitics and California's flagging economy have played a role in the huge drop.

Religious persecution of Christian evangelicals — Sacramento's largest refugee group — has almost disappeared since the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union in 1989-91, experts say.

And the State Department has all but stopped accepting Hmong refugees who historically flocked to Sacramento.Not only are refugees not coming any more, some are leaving.

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