Today, more than 65 million people are displaced worldwide. It’s important to get past the misconceptions about refugees and the resettlement process to truly understand where refugees are coming from—both geographically and emotionally—and what we can all do to help.
MYTH: Refugees are interchangeable with asylum seekers.
FACT: A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. An asylum seeker is someone who has already arrived in a country and is asking for asylum but has not yet been determined to be a refugee.
MYTH: Refugees are mostly men.
FACT: 51% of refugees are school-aged children under the age of 18.
MYTH: Refugees are a threat.
FACT: Refugees are not a threat. Often, they are victims of terror in their countries. Refugees considered for resettlement in the U.S. are subject to the highest level of security checks, a process that can take between 12 and 24 months and includes screening by eight federal agencies.
MYTH: There’s aren’t very many refugees in the United States.
FACT: The United States is one of the largest refugee resettlement country in the world, having welcomed more than three million refugees since 1975. In 2016 alone, The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program has welcomed 85,000 refugees from around the world.
MYTH: Refugees are drain on society the economy.
FACT: Numerous economic studies have demonstrated that refugees have a positive economic impact on their communities by finding jobs, spending money, and sending their children to school.
MYTH: Most refugees are Muslim and come from the Middle East.
FACT: Refugees come from all religious backgrounds and a variety of countries. In 2016, nearly half of U.S. refugees came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, and Myanmar. A look at where refugees from the U.S. have come from provide a glimpse into global conflicts and the United States’ role in providing a safe haven. [Source: Pew Research]
Source: The UN Refugee Agency
Image Source: International Rescue Committee