BRYCS Photo - Courtesy of CSS Anchorage
Refugees are people who would prefer to return home but cannot do so because of persecution. While immigrants choose to leave their homes and come to the United States, refugees flee their homes fearing harm. As a humanitarian gesture by the United States government, a certain number of refugees are invited into the country each year.
Refugees come from varied backgrounds: some have college or professional degrees while others have had little formal education due to the upheaval of war; some come with or join extended family and community networks in the U.S. while others arrive alone without connections in their new home; some have studied English before they arrive while others must work hard to learn a new language; some refugees quickly adjust to their new lives in the U.S. while others struggle to overcome the trauma of war or the challenges of acculturation.
All refugees resettled in the U.S. hope to find safety, stability and opportunity. Culturally sensitive services, as well as a warm welcome, can help them start to feel at home again.
The vast majority of refugees adjust successfully and contribute economically and socially in many ways to their new home. Well-known refugees include Madeleine Albright, the first woman to be United States Secretary of State. For more examples of refugees who have made extraordinary contributions to their new country, see this article by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).