Refugees are those who have been dislocated by force due to war or political and religious persecution and have crossed an international border to save their lives. According to the latest statistics of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are more than 65 million refugees in the world.
He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' —Matthew 25:45
How do refugees come here?
Most refugees flee their country through dangerous paths and are often financially, physically, and emotionally exploited. In some of the worst cases, they suffer physical abuse including rape and forced labor.
Refugees flee their country with not much more than the clothes they wear. After crossing an international border, refugees register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). They then are referred to the U.S. embassy for the resettlement process. During this period that can take up to a few years, they strive to survive on their own. Upon completing the process, independent agencies assist with the resettlement of refugees within the U.S.
How about Texas?
According to the Texas government, in 2017 “the Texas Refugee Resettlement Program served about 4000 people from 44 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, the Sudan, Cuba and Nepal. This number does not reflect the arrivals from Iraq and Afghanistan through the special visa (SIV). All have their own individual stories, but a common thread for many is persecution for who they are or what they represent. Even more universal is belief in America’s historic promise of tolerance and opportunity.” Texas receives approximately 11% of refugees every year.
What kind of people are they?
Refugees are people like you and me. They have the same desires and hopes. They want to live in safety. They want to raise their children in a good environment with good educational opportunities for a bright future. They experience the same pains, concerns, and worries. They come from various countries, ethnicities, cultures, and religions. They have experienced much pain and suffering and desire a peaceful life.
What challenges do the refugees face?
Sponsoring agencies have only $1800.00 to help each refugee with all his/her needs. It can be very difficult for refugees to obtain a driver’s license, learn how to use public transportation, how to apply for a job, enroll in the educational system, and communicate their needs effectively. In nearly all cases, refugees lack a support system. Seeking a job can be more challenging for families with small children because they cannot afford babysitters.
Many refugees do not speak English upon arrival, which severely impacts their job prospects. Refugees often experience cultural alienation and suffer loneliness, and are in need of supportive relationships.
How many refugees arrive in the U.S?
While the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. has decreased from about 80,000 in 2016, still 10 of thousands arrive each year.