Amarillo is the largest city of the Texas Panhandle, with over 200,000 people. The city has also long been the destination for forcibly displaced people from around the world. As recently as 2014, Amarillo was taking in more refugees per capita than any other city in Texas (and 41st nationwide).

Each year hundreds of forcibly displaced newcomers find their way to the Amarillo area. Some come as resettled refugees through a resettlement agency such as Catholic Charities. Some come with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), such as many of the Afghans who previously worked alongside U.S. forces before the urgent crisis of 2021. Others come with special allowances to relocate to the U.S. under a program called "humanitarian parole". This program has allowed individuals to come from Afghanistan, Cuba, Haiti, Ukraine, and Venezuela.

Total arrivals per year since 2015

Each of the past two fiscal years have seen around 600 arrivals into the Amarillo area. The following chart shows the total number of countable arrivals since 2010. This does not include the many immigrants who move to Amarillo from other cities, and it does not take into account those who, after coming here, relocate elsewhere.

Total Arrivals by Year FY15-23-transparent-cropped2

Top 4 nationalities since 2015

Since 2015, the highest numbers of arrivals have been from Myanmar/Burma, Cuba, Congo, and Afghanistan. While Burmese people were previously the highest demographic, Cubans are now coming in much higher numbers than any other group—eclipsing the high Afghan numbers from 2022. Currently the Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest incoming demographic.

Top Nationality Trends FY15-23-transparent-cropped
Amarillo Arrivals by Nationality FY15-23-cropped

Arrivals by Nationality since 2015

Since 2015, 2918 countable newcomers have made their way into the Amarillo area. This doesn't include secondary migrants who first settled in another city before moving here. It also does not take into account those who, after resettling here, moved elsewhere.


Arrivals by Region since 2015

Zooming out, we can see that Amarillo's recently arrived immigrants can be divided fairly evenly into the different regions of the world. The only exception is Europe, since the only recent forcibly displaced Europeans in our area are a small number from Ukraine.

Amarillo Arrivals by Region FY15-23-cropped
Amarillo Arrivals by Nationality FY20-23-cropped2

Arrivals by Nationality since 2020

Focusing on just the last four years, we see that Cuba, Afghanistan, and Congo have made up the lion's share of immigration into Amarillo.

Amarillo Refugee Network

It's easy to assume that all people from a certain country are part of the same group. However, in most countries of the world, people's highest allegiances are reserved for those of their own clans, ethnic groups, or language groups. In fact, in many places (such as Myanmar), ethnic groups are clustered in specific geopolitical regions such as states. Even within ethnic groups, there are often multiple separate linguistic identities. It is often the case that people from the same country cannot speak to one another because they've grown up speaking completely different languages.

Below, Amarillo's forcibly displaced communities are divided by their nationalities, ethnic groups, and languages.

Amarillo Refugee Network March 2024

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Language is a doorway.

This diverse city needs your help! Connect to our mission by donating, subscribing to our newsletters, or volunteering.


© 2024 Refugee Language Project. All rights reserved.