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Refugees 101 The Advocates for Human Rights is pleased to involve your class or community group in a day to learn about refugees in the United States.

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Presentation on theme: "Refugees 101 The Advocates for Human Rights is pleased to involve your class or community group in a day to learn about refugees in the United States."— Presentation transcript:


2 Refugees 101 The Advocates for Human Rights is pleased to involve your class or community group in a day to learn about refugees in the United States. © The Advocates for Human Rights 2008

3 What makes someone a refugee? The refugee journey Refugees to the U.S. – numbers and policies How and why we protect refugees Overview

4 Why do refugees leave their countries?

5 Refugees / Asylees Refugees and asylees leave their countries because of war or persecution due to their nationality, race, religion, political opinion or membership in a group.

6 What is Persecution? While there is no universally accepted definition of persecution, threats to life or freedom are always considered persecution when they occur because of a persons: Race Religion Nationality Political opinion Membership in a particular social group

7 Persecution Other serious violations of human rights also constitute persecution, including: Slavery Prolonged detention without a charge or trial Torture Overwhelming discrimination Note: Not all unfair or unjust treatment is considered persecution. Assessments of persecution are made on a case by case basis.

8 Persecution Is Based On: Race – Examples include Apartheid in South Africa, the Holocaust and slavery. Religion – Could be forbidding membership in a religion or severe discrimination for people who practice a religion. Nationality – Includes citizenship or membership in an ethnic or linguistic group. Examples include Kurds in Iraq and ethnic groups in the former Soviet Union. Membership in a particular social group – Examples include members of a tribe, former government employees, or homosexuals. Political opinion – Examples include membership or activity in an opposing political party.

9 What Is The Difference Between a Refugee and an Asylee? A refugee receives permission to come to the U.S. from outside of the country. Refugees are resettled with the help of a refugee resettlement agency. An asylee is already in the U.S. when s/he applies for protection. Asylees have to prove that they have reason to fear persecution in their home country.

10 World Refugee Survey (2008)9 Finland (724)…………….1:7,300 Denmark (472)…………1:11,700 Ireland (144)……………1:30,600 Netherlands (518)……...1:31,700 United Kingdom (498)...1:122,500 Argentina (83)………...1:474,700 Major Resettlement Countries of Refugees (by total number and ratio of refugees they accept) Australia (10,722)…….1:2,000 Canada (11,079)……....1:3,000 Norway (1,397)………1:3,400 Sweden (1,848)……….1:4,900 New Zealand (697)…...1:6,000 United States (48,281)...1:6,200 Total number of refugees worldwide at the end of 2007: 14,047,300


12 Q: What Must Threats to Life or Freedom Be Based on In Order to Be Considered Persecution? (Click for the answers) Race Religion Nationality Membership in a particular social group

13 By nature of their situation, refugees have to leave their homelands behind. What would it feel like to leave YOUR homeland behind?

14 Understanding The Journey of the Refugee The following section of slides are adapted from Flight to Hope: A Catholic Refugee Awareness Educational Project, Prepared by the Catholic Consortium on Refugee Awareness Education (1990)

15 War, severe discrimination or persecution often make it too dangerous for people to remain in their homeland. This stage is characterized by: Fear of detection Anxiety about conditions Pressure about escape Fear of persecution Anticipated sadness over losses Pre-Escape

16 Fearful for their safety or lives, refugees are forced to flee. They may leave secretly or are chased out. Many die trying to escape. Those lucky enough to escape their country are considered refugees. Illustration used with permission ©Peter Kuper Escape

17 During their Escape, Refugees May Experience: Panic Shock Fear Danger Hunger Fatigue Separation Fear of victimization Fear of being detected or caught in the crossfire

18 The average stay in a refugee camp is years. Many camps are heavily guarded, surrounded by barbed wire. Refugees are sometimes treated cruelly by guards. Most camps are operated by the United Nations and receive help from donor countries. The refugees await solutions to the problems in their homelands. The Refugee Camp

19 The Refugee Camp Experience is Characterized By: Boredom Shock Depression Anger Hope mingled with disappointment Adjustment to new living conditions Hopelessness Fear of the unknown Culture shock Survivors guilt Helplessness Powerlessness Self-doubt Struggle to meet survival needs Confusion

20 Voluntary Repatriation If changes happen in their homeland making it safe to return home, refugees are repatriated. This is the first hope for those forced to leave their homeland. Unfortunately, this seldom happens quickly, if ever. The feelings repatriated refugees experience include: Fear of reprisal Anticipation of reunions with friends and family Fear that deaths of loved ones will be confirmed Fear that loss of possessions will be confirmed Fear of governments intentions Concern about re-integration

21 Refugees are sometimes allowed to leave the camps and take residency in the host country. This usually happens when that country is a neighbor of their own, where the language and culture are somewhat similar. Local Integration

22 Interview for Resettlement The United Nations officials interview people to determine if their situation qualifies them as refugees. Only those who can prove they are escaping persecution and are unable to return home are eligible to ask to go to another country. If they ask to go to the U.S., refugees are then interviewed by the U.S. Refugee Program officials and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials to determine if they meet our eligibility requirements. The U.S. is stricter than the U.N. For instance, fleeing due to famine is considered economic migration not persecution by the U.S.

23 Approval and Flight Refugees who are approved to come to the U.S. are given a health screening and cultural orientation. Refugees sign a travel loan document agreeing to pay back the cost of the flight.

24 Arrival in the U.S. As refugees come to the U.S., they are assigned to a Refugee Resettlement Agency where they receive assistance and guidance as they begin their new lives. The Voluntary Resettlement Agencies (VOLAGs) accredited to resettle refugees provide days of service through the Department of State and then provide after-care services. Ongoing services may include public assistance, medical assistance, housing, job training, mental health, education.

25 The fact of never going home Loss of family and friends Loss of familiar culture Anxiety over discrimination in host country Concern over cultural adaptation Concern for economic survival Daily Survival Issues Language barriers When Refugees are Resettled, They May Face:

26 Refugees to the U.S. Each year, the federal government determines how many refugees will be allowed to enter. The recent yearly refugee cap has been 70,000. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the actual number of refugees resettled in 2006 was 41,150.

27 World Refugee Survey (2008)26 Iran: 3,900 Guatemala: 3,400 Vietnam: 3,400 Ethiopia: 3,200 Indonesia: 3,100 Ukraine: 3,100 Venezuela: 3,100 Refugees to the U.S. at the End of 2007 (by Country of Origin) China: 16,800 Haiti: 12,300 Cuba: 11,700 Somalia: 11,600 Colombia: 8,200 Russia: 8,100 Liberia: 6,900 Total number of refugees in the U.S. at the end of 2007: 151,200 India: 2,800 Nicaragua: 2,400 Myanmar: 2,200 Sudan: 2,200 Other: 42,800


29 Q: What Phases Might A Refugee Go Through During His or Her Journey? (Click for the answers) Pre-escape Escape Stay in a refugee camp Voluntary repatriation Local integration Resettlement in another country

30 What Do You Think? Can a Refugee to the U.S.... Sponsor a family member to come to the U.S? Stay in the U.S. forever? Legally work in the U.S.? Become a U.S. citizen?

31 After Refugees Have Been in the U.S. for 1 Year, They May Apply to Become Lawful Permanent Residents Lawful permanent residents have permission to remain in the U.S. for as long as they choose. They must keep take out permission for their green card every 10 years and remain crime free. They can sponsor their spouse and unmarried children to join them in the U.S.

32 Employment Refugees in the U.S. are authorized to work. They may be eligible for employment counseling and referrals through their resettlement agency. Often, the training and licenses for the profession refugees did in their home country are not accepted in the U.S.

33 Lawful Permanent Residents May Become U.S. Citizens Eligible refugees may choose to go through the process of to become a U.S. citizen.

34 To Become a Naturalized Citizen, One Must: Have a green card for either 3 or 5 years based on your particular situation. Be physically present in the U.S. for 2.5 years. Pay an application fee of $675. Pass the citizenship test. Pass the interview in English. Swear to the judge you will follow the laws of the U.S. Be of good moral character (e.g., no serious crimes).

35 Which States Resettle the Most Refugees? Can you guess the top 10 states of resettlement in the U.S.? Where would YOUR state rank in resettlement?

36 U.S. Department of State Top 10 States for Refugee Resettlement in 2005 StateTotal Arrivals% of U.S. Arrivals California7, % Minnesota6, % Florida4, % Texas3, % Washington2, % New York2, % Arizona1, % Georgia1, % Wisconsin1, % Ohio1, %

37 U.S. Department of State States Ranked by Refugees Resettled 1 Califor.11 Penns.21 Kent.31 Louis.41 Alab. 2 Minn.12 Illinois22 Maryl.32 R. Isl.42 N. Mex 3 Florida13 Mass.23 Utah33 N. Dak.43 Alaska 4 Texas14 Virgin.24 N. Jers.34 Nebras.44 D.C. 5 Wash.15 N.Car.25 Idaho35 S. Dak.45 Haw. 6 N. York16 Oregon26 Conn.36 Verm.46 Delaw. 7 Arizona17 Missou.27 Indiana37 Maine47 Ark. 8 Georgia18 Color.28 Iowa38 Kansas48 Mont. 9 Wiscon.19 Mich.29 N. Ham39 Oklah.49 W. Vir 10 Ohio20 Tenn.30 Nevada40 S. Car.50 Missis.

38 Why Should We Protect Refugees?

39 International Laws Protect Refugees U.N Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (April 22, 1954) –Defines who is a refugee –Sets out rights of refugees –Establishes standards of treatment by receiving countries –Limited to pre-1951 European refugees 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (October 4, 1967) –Removes geographic and time limitations of above-mentioned Convention

40 Principal of Non-Refoulement Under the international human rights principle of non- refoulement, a country cannot deport an alien in any manner to a territory where his or her life or freedom would be threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in particular social group, or political opinion. United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951, Article 33; Convention Against Torture, Article 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 5

41 What ideas do YOU have about how to make your world better for refugees?

42 For More Information, Visit Energy of a Nation on the Web! Obtain accurate and up-to- date information about immigrants and refugees. Learn about current legislation. Take action by contacting leaders and lawmakers. Participate in community events. Learn about the issues. Access reports and resources on state and national immigration. All Free and Downloadable at:

43 © The Advocates for Human Rights 2008

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