Populist rhetoric has fanned an international wave of anti-refugee sentiment, leading to growing calls to stem the flow of refugees into the United States, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. — Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D.
When President Trump came into office, there has been a continuous debate on whether the US should build “the wall” or not. Where did this idea come from? How did a leader come up with the idea that his country would be better with a barrier? The concept of building a wall could not be all bad. It may sound inhumane amidst the ongoing chaos in the Middle East as many people are seeking refuge, but it isn’t directly about it. Continue reading To Build Or Not To Build
More than 65 million people have been displaced from their homes, and the global refugee crisis touches issues of war, poverty, famine, economics, race, religion, gender, politics, policy, and justice. — Jamie D. Aten Ph.D.
Many individuals often interchange the terms “refugees” and “asylees” as if they are the same. When you ask why they do that, you may get another question thrown at you. E.g., “Aren’t they the displaced folks from other countries that seek for protection and refuge here?”
Well, if you look at the matter in this sense, asylees and refugees do not seem too different from each other. Both are immigrants who wish to live in a foreign country that’s a million miles away from one where they get persecuted or terrorized due to nationality, race, political views, et cetera. Nevertheless, there are main points that set refugees apart from asylees and vice versa.
Location During The Application Process
The procedure of receiving legal status in the new nation is the first thing that differentiates the two. You see, to be able to seek asylum in the United States or any country that offers a similar program, the applicant has to be inside its borders already. In case the person is not, he or she should at least be about to travel and needs that documentation to get admitted at the port of entry.
Persons that are deemed “illegal” or “undocumented” immigrants are simply people that do not have the official paperwork that allows them to live in another country. — Tarra Bates-Duford, Ph.D., MFT
Meanwhile, applying for the refugee status requires someone to remain in his or her homeland until the decision comes. The possibility of getting approval may be slim if he or she sends the application through the immigration office in another country. It is also not allowed to try to enter the US, for instance, if the person has immigrated to any other nation before applying.
Some Countries Accept More Refugees Than Asylees
Every government that takes in people whose lives may be in danger in their motherland due to racial or political persecution or terrorism has a cap when it comes to the number of asylum seekers and refugees that can gain protection within their walls. Say, in the United States, the president agrees to accept almost 70,000 persons per year as refugees. However, the asylees that are given legal status are no more than 30,000 applicants.
…refugees, especially those who are made to feel welcome in their host communities, outperform non-refugees when it comes to getting a college education. More education means higher lifetime earnings. — Michael Ungar Ph.D.
An exact reason for favoring refugees over asylum seekers is challenging to get from immigration officers, of course. Both types of displaced fellows need to prove that they cannot stay or go back to their home country because of conflict, maltreatment, or oppression. One can only assume that it is due to the more imminent threat that the former applicants deal with compared to the latter.
Asylees May Not Have Legal Papers Upon Entering The Foreign Country
As mentioned above, it is one of the few requirements for asylum seekers to inside the country where they seek protection from. That entails that they may be living illegally there for some time. Once the immigration officers round them up, therefore, that is merely when they decide to apply for asylum to avoid getting deported.
Refugees, on the other hand, are the people who do not wish to go through all that trouble. They are trying to be lawful by applying for this particular status before entering their country of choice. Thus, they won’t have to hide from the authorities when there is legal permission in their hands.
Despite all these differences, when asylees and refugees receive an authorized status to go to a specific nation, they will experience the same privileges. The United States particularly allows either to apply for a work permit after that. When a year passes, they can get a green card. Four years later, they may be able to apply for citizenship. It may take the same amount of time to become a naturalized resident in other countries too.
Becoming a refugee is something that nobody can ever envision happening to themselves. One day, you are going through your regular activities as usual. You pay your taxes on time; you try to live without stepping over anyone. However, if a war erupts or a deadly typhoon ruins your place and livelihood, none of that will matter. If you refuse to stay in shelters, you may end up fleeing the country and becoming refugees in a stronger, more stable nation.
The thing is, the process of relocating is never as easy as it seems. One highly documented story is the escape of Syrians from their homeland to Europe. Due to the chaos in Syria, many do not have the means to take a legal route and book a flight to their target destination. They usually need to pay thousands of dollars to get smuggled into another country via small boats, buses, or sometimes even covered trucks.
For more than 25 years, researchers and clinicians generally assumed that war exposure was the critical determinant influencing refugees’ well-being. This led to lots of studies assessing exposure to wartime violence and loss, with limited consideration of the chronic adversity experienced by refugees after leaving their homeland. — Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D.
What Syrians experience, though, is almost the same as what other asylum seekers are willing to undergo to ensure their safety and future. They are fearless indeed, but it is typical for refugees to develop the following mental health disorders because of it too.
The reality that displaced individuals and families need to face is undoubtedly a challenge to accept immediately. You may have a stable career in your country, for instance, yet you need to take odd jobs in the new one to get by. You want to be at least able to visit any relative who got left behind, but you know that is not possible.
Because of that, it seems too natural for these people to acquire depression. According to statistics, this mental disorder occurs as much as PTSD. Usually, they also comorbid with each other, hence increasing the problem of the refugees.
African civilians in war-torn countries have experienced the threat of violence or death, and many have witnessed the abuse, torture, rape, and even murder of loved ones. As a result, many Congolese living in Ugandan refugee camps are suffering from severe PTSD. — Rick Nauert PhD
The primary condition that asylum seekers tend to deal with is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This illness is not only common for veterans of war but also for the regular citizens who happened to get caught in the middle of the battle. You can never get used to bombings and shootings, after all. The more you experience it, the more trauma sticks to you, to the extent that you cannot shake it off anymore.
Based on an International Journal of Mental Health Systems study in 2017, it appears that 40 percent of the refugees in various countries live with PTSD. Men, women, and children – they carry the same disorder. That is quite worrying since the disease is known to make someone paranoid or develop hostile tendencies that might put themselves or others in danger if left untreated.
As mentioned earlier, the road to freedom is not smooth for all the refugees. It is ideal if you have relatives or friends in the country where you intend to go. They can take you in or even provide legal documents so that you won’t need to tread the waters in a small boat or transact with lawless folks. However, in case you know nobody there, you may have no other option but the latter.
This nightmarish experience can cause anyone to develop post-migration stress. It does not help either that no home or job is waiting for them in the new nation.
…mental health professionals have been working in tandem with social workers, medical doctors, language teachers and specially trained interpreters to provide comprehensive, multifaceted care for the refugees. According to Dr. Nadine Stammel who leads the research department of the Berlin Center Of Torture Victims (BZFO), this multi-modal approach has had positive outcomes, with preliminary findings showing a decrease in trauma-related disorders and an increase in quality of life. — Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.
Becoming a refugee is much worse than being homeless. The displacement entails that you have to leave everything you hold dear – e.g., your home, friends,and career – behind. You need to handle the fact that you will forever be indebted to the country that accepted you and your family. Furthermore, the possibility of returning to your roots may be dire unless the commotion there stops. Thus, it seems like dodging the refugees and their mental health disorders above may not be a cakewalk.
If you know an asylum seeker who developed a psychological condition due to the dangers he or she escaped from their homeland, you should try to help him or her in any way. Good luck!
The United States is among the many countries that deal with tens of thousands of individuals who seek refuge. Many of them have to escape from their motherland in fear of political or religious persecution. Others are victims of war who can no longer live another day in a place where it has become too usual to hear opposing groups exchange gunshots in the middle of the road or make cars explode.
According to the data collected from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics, the government allowed approximately 85,000 people to come to the US as refugees in 2016. That is a significant jump from 2014 in which they only admitted almost 70,000 applicants.
In case you are also hoping to look for protection and a new home in the United States, let the following steps be your guide to obtain refugee status.
Know If You Are Eligible
Your primary concern should be figuring out if you meet the basic requirements that the country asks from its applicants. For one, you should still be in your motherland or have not settled in another nation when you are applying. Your government has persecuted you due to your race, political views, nationality, or gender. It is also imperative to show that you have not faced deportation or committed any offense in the US before.
Figure Out If You Should Apply For Refugee Status
Once you are confident about your eligibility, you can now think if the refugee status is the best and only option for you to enter the foreign land. Assuming you have relatives there, after all, you may be able to apply for a different visa. In case you are already on the way and merely need passes at the port of entry, it is more advisable to strive for asylum.
Get Screened At A USRAP Or UNHCR Office
With the certainty that you are better off with refugee status, you should search for the local office of US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) or United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Either institution may have a branch in your country; that’s why they are quite easy to visit. After the initial screening is over, they can direct you to a nearby US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office.
Connect the dots, and one can see that stable communities are likely to be those with a higher concentration of new immigrants (including refugees) who are committed to home ownership, educating their kids, and taking advantage of the opportunities offered to them. — Michael Ungar Ph.D.
Fill Up Application Forms
When you reach the said establishment, you may get the fillable documents that are possibly essential for your application. The most significant of them all is theForm I-590 a.k.a. Registration for Classification as Refugee. It is typical to add forms G-325C and FD-258 to the list as well so that you can provide your biographical data and allow the firm to get your fingerprints, respectively.
Prove Your Identity And Need For Refuge
While filling up your submission papers, you will notice that many questions aim to figure out who you areand why you seek to immigrate. To boost your chances of gaining approval, it is ideal to use this period to gather evidence about yourself and your financial stability, e.g., birth certificate, property title(s), certificate of employment, income tax returns, et cetera. More importantly, it will help to prove how unsafe it is for you to stay in your home country.
Go To The Interview
When you have every necessary document in your hands, you may then schedule an interview at the USCIS office. How the process usually goes is that an immigration officer will take your papers, review them, and ask a few things about you. They only base the inquiries to what’s on your forms; that’s why you should answer accurately and truthfully.
Often, the reasons why some people do not become a citizen of a country to which they reside include legal channels that have become too expensive, the process is long and drawn out, complicated, scary, confusing, etc. — Tarra Bates-Duford, Ph.D., MFT
Your admission in the United States will always lie in the hands of the immigration personnel who interviewed you. At times, you may come across one who is quite easy to speak with. Other times, there may be an officer who may not even look up at you before denying the application outright.
You can merely follow the steps above and hope for the best to increase the probability of obtaining refugee status. Good luck!
When folks think of seeking refuge in a foreign country, it is personal safety – which may have been jeopardized for political, religious, or gender reasons – that these people are after. They focus on figuring out how to leave the motherland without getting caught. They try to enter another nation stealthily too to prevent detention or, worse, deportation before the foreign government grants their plea for a haven.
Amidst ensuing legislations and public sentiments, the newcomers faced the task of dealing with the aftermath of their traumatic journeys and adjusting to a new, foreign life. — Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.
Due to their difficult situation, refugees do not have time to consider the problems they might face there. Some of them, after all, need to rely on the assistance that non-profit groups offer because they cannot obtain a full-time job. Others become homeless or find cultural disparity too challenging to overcome.
In case you feel sorry for the unfortunate state that many asylees and refugees are in, we can share a few tips on how to help them cope with their new environment.
Become A Host
It is quite easy to spot freshly displaced individuals or families when you are on the streets. Assuming the country is yet to grant them asylum, they are practically illegal immigrants without a permanent home or legal documentation. Hence, these folks may carry what little belongings they have and always look around the area with fear in their eyes.
If you see them, therefore, the first thing you should do is offer a room at your home. You may also inquire at local organizations whether they know of refugees who need shelter while their papers are under processing. This way, the asylum seekers won’t feel too out of place in your community.
Show Them Around
Once you have befriended some of the migrants staying near you, you can also volunteer to tour them all over the town or city. It is typical for folks who have gotten into a different country illicitly to keep to themselves, after all. Many prefer to stay away from crowded locations, primarily when authorities are roaming, even with papers permitting them to live there.
You may start introducing the new place to the refugees by walking with them to, say, a local supermarket or bakery. Then, you can invite them to the park or any group meeting that you attend regularly. You will know if your efforts are working once they manage to go somewhere without keeping their head low the entire time.
A new study finds that refugees diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder regulate stress differently than those who don’t have the disorder, but may have experienced similar suffering. — Rick Nauert PhD
Teach Your Native Language
Plenty of asylum seekers lack the confidence to live freely in a foreign country as well because they cannot speak the language there. As you perhaps know, most refugees come from non-English speaking nations like Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, et cetera. Although some may be able to form basic sentences, they may still be too timid to talk to the natives directly.
To help such people get over the language barrier, you should not hesitate to give them free tutoring. You can distribute an hour of your day to teach them English or whatever the dialect may be in your country. Similarly, you may coax your other friends to volunteer their linguistic skills to aid more asylees.
Finally, in case there is a job vacancy in your office, you can try to recommend a refugee for the role. Not all displaced folks lived in poverty in their motherland and received no formal education, you know. Some of them may have had a stable source of income back home, which they needed to leave for security purposes. Hence, they merely require an opportunity to show their skills in the foreign land.
In addition to traditional clinical interventions targeting war trauma, efforts are increasingly being made to help refugees adapt effectively to the challenges of life in whatever setting they are in. This can mean altering settings to make them safer and more hospitable; it can also mean helping refugees gain the knowledge, skills, and other resources they need to overcome the daily challenges they face. — Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D.
Even with the stories of refugees known to the public, we can never fully understand the hardships that they have gone through to reach a new place where they can live without fear every day. The only thing we can do is attempt to help them cope with the hustles and bustles of the community that took them in.
Immigrating to another country legally is not a walk in the park. You cannot merely say that you want to try staying in a different nation. The immigration officers often ask how you’ll be able to afford living there. At times, even someone who has millions in the bank gets denied since their intentions do not match the reality that they may face overseas.
Prolonged wars in Syria, South Sudan, and Afghanistan have contributed heavily to a global refugee crisis. The number of refugees today, estimated at 65 million, is the highest it’s been in 20 years. — Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D.
While a single rejection may cause you to set your sights to a new location or remain in your motherland, that is not the case for desperate people. They do not mind spending thousands of dollars to get smuggled into a foreign land. They don’t even think about the illegality of their actions. These folks merely want to get away from their own country at any cost.
In case you are unfamiliar about where this desperation comes from, you should know that many people prefer to become refugees than deal with the following forever:
More and more countries legalize same-sex marriage. Many others may not have that regulation yet, but they do not shun the members of the LGBTQ community.
What’s highly unfortunate, though, is that there are still nations where you can only be a straight man or woman. No one has a right to love someone of the same sex. You cannot show your true colors either. Otherwise, it may lead to imprisonment or a death sentence.
Some parts of the world are so impoverished that men, women, and children resort to stealing and violence to have money. A typical reason for it is the disproportion between the number of jobs available in the country and the number of people who can work. If we are honest, overpopulated locations have a shaky economy. It does not help too that many of them lack proper education; that’s why they do not pass for positions that require a college degree or a specific specialization.
“We now have decades of research showing that when people are chronically treated differently, unfairly or badly, it can have effects ranging from low self-esteem to a higher risk for developing stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression,” said Dr. Vickie Mays, a UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor. — Rick Nauert PhD
In nations in which there is a single political party, religion, or race that reigns, the individuals who do not follow the major rules that they created usually feel discriminated. It can go from pure isolation during group meetings up to random folks calling you names on the streets or refusing to stay anywhere where your “kind” may be.
For people who no longer desire to live in discrimination, they choose to vacate their homeland. Starting anew somewhere is better than often getting persecuted for your beliefs or origin, after all.
Hunger is another problem that pushes folks to leave their country and find their luck abroad. As mentioned above, it is already bad that people do not have the means to buy food for the entire family. However, if you cannot grow vegetables or fruits and raise your source of meat due to the environmental changes that occur in the area as well, you are more likely to experience famine than not.
Last but not least, families prefer to become refugees because the ongoing conflict in their homeland puts their lives at risk every day. The citizens need to maintain vigilance since the opposing groups might drop a bomb or start shooting each other at any time of the day. They also have to be wary of looters and sometimes kidnappers who will stop at nothing to get what they want. To keep their kids from growing up in that situation, therefore, they decide to flee the place.
The stories that I hear make me think that there is nothing a human won’t do to another human. On the other hand, I feel that people who have gone through horrible experiences can get better if they find another human. — Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.
No one wishes to vacate the land where he or she was born and not be able to come back. Some may dream of a better future in a foreign country, but they still plan on re-visiting the friends and families they left in the motherland after every year or so. You can read more information on a family website like FamilyEducation.com and VeryWellFamily.
Unfortunately, in the case of refugees, these folks leave even if they know that there may no longer be a chance to return there. It must be sad – for sure – yet they do it without a second thought because they want to live freely.
Various countries are kind enough to protect the citizens of nations wherein it is impossible to live a normal life. For example, poverty reins all over the place, and there is no job available for them. There may be an ongoing war between terrorist and military groups as well, which prevent the people from leaving or even staying inside their homes without fear.
It’s understandable to assume that the elevated levels of trauma, anxiety, and depression we see among refugees from war zones like Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq are the result of the violence and loss they’ve experienced prior to becoming displaced. — Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D.
The reality, however, is that the hardships of the displaced individuals and families do not end as soon as they step on distant soil. Here are some of the problems that refugees face after relocating.
Let’s be honest about one thing – many asylum seekers come to countries without knowing how to speak English. With it being the universal language, you can communicate with others even when their native tongue is French, Greek, et cetera. If you can’t talk even in broken language, though, it can be a challenge to find people who can help you in the new country.
Most citizens of wealthy nations are not oblivious of the fact that there are newcomers in the land who need assistance to restart their life. They don’t hesitate to lend a hand or offer a place to stay for them, albeit temporarily. Nevertheless, it is not surprising to also come across individuals who merely want to mingle with their “own” kind. When they see refugees, they tend to frown or walk away in disgust or drop harsh words, which is incredibly wrong and discriminating.
Earning money for many refugees means having to take odd jobs to make ends meet. While that is acceptable for folks who did not have a good life back home, the professional ones feel depressed because they cannot apply for a similar position they held in the past. It does not help at all that some employers use their desperation to find work to exploit their skills and place them in risky situations.
It won’t be easy to meet a refugee who entered a foreign land for the first time with legal papers. Most – if not all – of them came in through backdoor entry points or by faking their documents. Once you decide to seek asylum properly, however, you will then need to prove that it won’t be safe for you to return to your motherland before the government allows you to get documented.
Alteration of a person’s mental health is a serious action that can influence a variety of detrimental consequences. Researchers explain that when the mental health of one person is affected, it can produce a domino effect extending beyond that individual. — Rick Nauert PhD
If you have always lived in, say, an Arab nation, you may not get used to the laws and trends in other non-Islamic countries. When you are in the United States or any European realm, after all, they are quite open to dating in public. It is rare to see folks who cover their faces for religious reasons as well. Such a sudden change from being a part of the majority to become a minority may be problematic for refugees.
Coming to a foreign country with barely enough funds can undeniably make it almost impossible to afford a small apartment for a few months. Many refugees who come to the land without proper documents tend to sleep in dark alleys in fear of being seen by police officers who might ask for their papers.
To Sum Things Up
To love refugees as our neighbors, we must consider beyond figuring out where to put them and work to create educational and career opportunities that will help them thrive long-term and break the cycle of violence and war that leads to displacement. — Jamie D. Aten Ph.D.
The journey to freedom may never come easy for asylum seekers. There may be groups willing to take them in, but they cannot rely on others’ help forever. They may try to make it on their own from the start too, yet the chances of experiencing exploitation and discrimination are too high.
Nevertheless, if you genuinely want to start anew in a foreign land, you should figure out a way to overcome the problems mentioned above. Good luck!