In 2016, the EU scrambled to strike political deals to reduce the numbers of refugees reaching its shores. In 2018, the US has accepted only 11 Syrian refugees so far. The vast majority of refugees who have fled the wars in Iraq and Syria will never see resettlement in the EU, the US or Canada. While Turkey hosts the highest number of registered refugees at 2.7 million, it is estimated that a full 33 percent of people in Jordan are refugees - whether from Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Sudan or Somalia.
While Za'atari Refugee Camp is home to some 70,000 refugees, making it one of the largest refugee camps in the world, many more refugees live outside the official camps and either live in informal tented settlements (ITS) or in urban centers like Amman, Irbid, and Mafraq city. Some never lived in Za'atari, while others chose to strike out on their own, hoping to leave behind the restrictions and violence that plagued the camp. But outside the camps, refugees often live beyond the reach of UN organizations and NGOs; some live in fear of being arrested for working illegally, while others are left vulnerable to predatory situations. UNICEF and Jordan's Ministry of Education have stepped up efforts to get refugee children back in school, but many children - especially those living in ITSs - were unable to attend due to overcrowding in schools, lack of transportation, or the fact that they have to work to help support their families. Many families are waiting for a shot at resettlement elsewhere, but others, having exhausted their finances or lost all their family, are struggling to eke out a living and survive in limbo, from farmlands on Jordan's border with Syria, to the impoverished neighborhoods of east Amman.