Who Are Refugees?
Refugees are people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country.
They often have fled with little more than the clothes on their back, leaving behind homes, possessions, jobs and loved ones.
Refugees are defined and protected in international law. The 1951 Refugee Convention is a key legal document and defines a refugee as:
“someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”
Although some refugees may be able to return home, many remain in dangerous situations for years and some may never be able to return home. They will need resettlement in the United States or another safe country.
HOW MANY REFUGEES DOES THE U.S. SETTLE EACH YEAR?
Less than ½ of 1% of the world’s refugee population of nearly 26 million (2020) is settled in the U.S. each year. The resettlement numbers have been steadily dwindling over the past four years even as the number of refugees has risen. For example: in 2016, the U.S. took in 84,995 refugees; in 2019 approximately 30,000. For 2020 the ceiling was set at 18,000.
WHERE DO REFUGEES IN EASTERN NC COME FROM?
It depends on the world situation and on Interfaith’s capacity and capability. Refugees are assigned to Interfaith by Episcopal Migration Ministries which considers many factors such as language availability, reasonable housing and availability of employment. Between 2016 and 2020, Interfaith has received refugees from Colombia, Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Afghanistan.
WHO PAYS FOR REFUGEE TRAVEL EXPENSES?
The International Organization for Migration arranges a travel loan and repayment plan for refugees.