Refugee Resettlement – A Positive Look

There is an influx of refugees coming to the United States. The city that I currently am living in probably has resettled a thousand refugees this year. Our church helped resettled a group of refugees in partnership with a resettlement agency in town. Their coming to this State has raised several concerns in the community. This State is one of places that have been hit really badly by the economic crisis. It is one of the cities that has very little diversity, and hence it is the State where the refugees would not thrive at all.

Refugee, by definition is a person who has no country of their own. They are either victims of genocide who have managed to escape death or a people group that undergo torture due to one or another reason that forces them to flee their host country and take refuge in a different country. Unfortunately, refugees always breed in third world nations and always take refuge in another third world country paralyzing the country of refuge as well. The country of refuge deems helpless because of the extra people they need to feed and serve. In most cases, the United Nations and other Relief Fund projects come to rescue these populations. However, these refugees stay in that country without hope, without any promise of ever returning to their lands, or with sufficient food and sanitation. Life in refugee camps typically are life in perpetual depravity.

However, just in the recent past, a number of developed nations like the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and others have decided to resettle a significant percent of the entire refugee population in the world. These countries have offered them an opportunity to call a country their home with full citizenship rights.

Now this certain policy has created many ripples in the minds and hearts of these countries. Many think that it is just not the time for their countries to help refugees when their countries are facing economic crises. It is not right to bring a population with no knowledge of the country’s culture or language. In doing so, refugees are facing more problem of depression, trauma, and a host of other problems. And these countries are not prepared to deal with all the problems. They are not well equipped. There are lack of interpreters, cultural liaisons, and there are lack of specialists that can particularly deal with what they will be facing.

All these issues are valid. I have been reading in the news that many refugees in other states have committed suicide due to immense culture shock, unavailability of jobs, and so on. And here I look into my group of refugees in our church. I see them every Sunday. They seem to be the mos cheerful bunch in the congregation. They seem to actually lighten up the church with their presence. It seems like they have given the church a purpose. I agree with all the concerns that Americans have about receiving refugees. I can see how they would feel insecure or spiteful when a refugee gets a job while an American citizen sits jobless. But the good sides of receiving refugees actually outweigh all the concerns that most Americans have ignored in haste and selfishness.

Firstly, just helping a deprived population should bring a whole new level of self-satisfaction and fulfillment to Americans on a humanitarian level. But, this fulfillment just does not limit to humanitarian level, in the long run the refugees will in fact be bolstering the economy. These refugees come with a huge loan that they owe to the US government. They enter lawfully to the country and enjoy refugee benefits for eight months. In these eight months, they are challenged to learn English, develop job skills and what not to adjust in this society. It is amazing how this opportunity brings the best out of these refugees. They work the least preferred and lowly paid jobs and contribute to the government both through income tax and through paying off their huge loans. They cannot be taken advantage of as illegal immigrants who do not contribute to the tax value.

These populations have enriched communities with the diversity they bring. I saw our church members go out of their ways to help them, to learn their language and culture which is impacting the bigger picture in the communities. Americans who wanted to travel to learn about different cultures do not have to do so as they come to their door-steps. The refugee kids are the most hard-working kids. If we look at the statistics of specialists in this country at present, many of them are people who have come to the United States at some point as a refugee from Vietnam, African countries, China and others twenty years ago. The refugee kids today will turn out to be bright citizens of this country again.

When you look at all these aspects of how refugees are going to positively impact the country in the long run, they certainly outweigh all the above concerns. Yet, there are people who go on the web and write insensitive comments. There are people who think refugees are taking away their opportunities , and that they have come to devitalize the society. In the recent prayer vigil that I attended said very well about people who want immigrants out of the United States- “People who claim themselves as Americans today once entered this country illegally. If they could come here illegally, shooing away the indigenous to make their lives better, why cannot these refugees who have been living a life of complete despair realize their dreams in this country??”

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