Who is a refugee?

Refugee, IDP, asylee, TPS, immigrant - these are all unique terms that get muddled together frequently. First up, the actual definition of the term "refugee" as it pertains to US law, with commentary/exposition underneath.
  1. A person
    Not a number. Not a statistic. Not a "wave." Not a "horde." An actual person.
  2. Located outside of the US
    If you're inside the and applying to stay, you're an asylum-seeker (or temporary protective status). Most definitions include "have crossed national borders," but some US-bound refugees can be located in their home countries (Iraqi Direct Access Program applicants, for example).
  3. Is of special humanitarian concern to the US
    The executive branch decides what special humanitarian concerns are yearly. Wars and natural disasters are the two main examples.
  4. Demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group
    These are pretty strictly defined
  5. Is not firmly resettled in another country already
    Also strict on this.
  6. Is admissible to the United States
    NO ONE who has ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
  7. Source: USCIS
    And personal experience