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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.
The Advocates for Human Rights 2008

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

Why do refugees leave


their countries?

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Major Resettlement Countries of


Refugees
(by total number and ratio of
refugees they accept)
Australia (10,722)
Finland (724)
.1:2,000
.1:7,300
Canada (11,079)
....1:3,000

Denmark (472)
1:11,700

Norway (1,397)
1:3,400

Ireland (144)
1:30,600

Sweden (1,848)
.1:4,900

Netherlands (518)
...1:31,700

Total number
worldwide
New Zealand
(697)of refugeesUnited
Kingdom
at the end of 2007: 14,047,300
...1:6,000
(498)...1:122,500

United States

Argentina (83)

World Refugee Survey (2008)

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

By nature of their situation,


refugees have to leave their
homelands behind.
What would it feel like to leave
YOUR homeland behind?

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)

Pre-Escape
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

Escape

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

During their Escape, Refugees May


Experience:
Panic

Fatigue

Shock

Separation

Fear

Fear of
victimization

Danger
Hunger

Fear of being
detected or
caught in the
crossfire

The Refugee Camp

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 Experience is


Characterized By:
Boredom
Shock
Depression
Anger

Fear of the
unknown
Culture shock
Survivors
guilt

Hope mingled
with
disappointment

Helplessness

Adjustment to
new living
conditions

Self-doubt

Hopelessness

Powerlessness
Struggle to
meet survival
needs

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

Local Integration
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.

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.

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.

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

When Refugees are Resettled, They


May Face:
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

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.

Refugees to the U.S. at the End of


2007
China:
16,800

(by Country of Origin)


Iran:
India:
3,900
2,800

Haiti:
12,300

Guatemala:
3,400

Nicaragua:
2,400

Cuba:
11,700

Vietnam:
3,400

Myanmar:
2,200

Somalia:
11,600

Ethiopia:
3,200

Sudan:
2,200

Indonesia:
Colombia:
Other:
Total number
of refugees in the U.S.
at the end of 2007: 151,200
3,100
8,200
42,800
Russia:

World Refugee Survey (2008)


Ukraine:

26

QUIZ TIME!

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

What Do You Think? Can a Refugee to the


U.S. ...
Stay in
the U.S.
forever?

Legally
work in the
U.S.?

Sponsor a
family
member
to come
to the
U.S?
Becom
e a U.S.
citizen?

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

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.

Lawful Permanent Residents


May Become U.S. Citizens
Eligible refugees may
choose to go through the
process of

to become a U.S. citizen.

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.

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?

Top 10 States for Refugee Resettlement in


2005
State

Total
Arrivals

% of U.S.
Arrivals

California

7,516

13.97%

Minnesot
a

6,357

11.81%

Florida

4,793

8.91%

Texas

3,245

6.03%

Washingt
on

2,847

5.29%

New York

2,568

4.77%

Arizona

1,872

3.48%

Georgia

1,870

3.47%

Wisconsi

1,851

U.S. Department of State

3.44%

States Ranked by Refugees Resettled


1 Califor.

11
Penns.

21 Kent.

2 Minn.

12
Illinois

22 Maryl. 32 R. Isl.

3 Florida

13 Mass. 23 Utah

33 N.
Dak.

43
Alaska

4 Texas

14
Virgin.

24 N.
Jers.

34
Nebras.

44 D.C.

5 Wash.

15
N.Car.

25 Idaho

35 S.
Dak.

45 Haw.

6 N. York

16
Oregon

26 Conn. 36 Verm.

7 Arizona 17
Missou.
8
Georgia

27
Indiana

31 Louis.

41 Alab.
42 N.
Mex

46
Delaw.

37 Maine 47 Ark.

18 Color.
Iowaof State38
U.S. 28
Department
Kansas

48
Mont.

Why Should We Protect Refugees?

International Laws Protect Refugees


U.N. 1951 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

Principal of Non-Refoulement
Under the international human
rights principle of nonrefoulement, 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

What ideas do YOU have about


how to make your world better for
refugees?

For More Information,


Visit Energy of a Nation on the Web!

Obtainaccurate and up-todateinformation 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: www.energyofanation.org!

The Advocates for Human Rights 2008