Citizenship and Immigration Services
Refugee status is granted to “people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” To first get accepted into a safer country, such as the United States, those seeking refugee status must go through extensive screenings that the U.S has been strengthening. Some countries, such as Australia, refuse everyone and anyone seeking asylum, or put refugees in camps that resemble prisons, like the EU, in an attempt to stop refugees from coming to their countries. Refugees who made it to the Greek Aegean Islands, which are processing centers for migrants applying for asylum, had to stay in the refugee camps until their requests for asylum were processed. These camps were disgusting, with trash, urine, feces and waste everywhere, unsafe conditions, and razor-wire fencing that made the refugees feel like prisoners.
This did not only affect the migrants, but also the citizens, as refugees would steal, slaughter, and chop their groves for firewood out of desperation. The EU closed their borders to migrants in 2015 during the height of the refugee crisis, resulting in worse conditions and making it more difficult to get in. (Kakissis) Even once refugees and migrants are accepted in safer countries, they face even more challenges, such as language and cultural barriers, transportation, securing work and housing, et cetera, et cetera. (Nunez) All these challenges lead to extensive mental health issues, especially for children, who are held at the mercy of politics and adults. In fact, U.S health professionals are increasingly called upon for refugees. From the ‘preflight’ phase, where refugees face social upheaval, increasing chaos, and devastating events, to ‘flight,’ where they must survive displacement and transitional placements, and even familial separation, and finally, hopefully ‘resettlement’ where migrants are plunged into a new, unfamiliar culture and society, refugees face bumps every step of the way. (Lustig, Kia-Keating and Knight) Today’s refugee crisis is the worst since WWII, and many, instead of helping our fellow man, block them and leave them to fend for themselves in a world that would kill them. At the same time, though, many are working for a better world for everyone involved in this crisis.
Trump Inauguration and American Treatment of Refugees
Many countries do take in many migrants and give them a hope for a better life. Countries that neighbor countries like Syria that account for many of the world’s refugees take in the most refugees. Turkey, for example, takes in the most refugees, with 1.6 million. (Armbrecht) Then again, life in Turkey for refugees is very difficult and many end up begging in the streets. (Kakissis) Countries like Canada have been consistent, and while the U.S was accepting many refugees previously, these numbers have dropped immensely since the Trump inauguration. (Gelardi) Many refugees, though, remain displaced in their own countries. Several people around the world try their hardest to help refugees in any way they can, sometimes through programs like Interfaith Ministries’ Refugee Services, where they can be family mentors to guide them, or hire them, or host a family, or help with English and more.
While these programs can be extremely helpful to those in the country, with 90% of IM’s clients becoming self-sufficient in 90 days, they do not address the root of the issue. (Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston) Our current solutions aren’t sufficient to our massive, worldwide crisis. Of the 65 million refugees in the world, only one percent are given the opportunity to restart their lives in a safer country. (Gelardi) Many of that one percent aren’t provided with the help they need to assimilate. Yes, we may have solutions, but they aren’t widespread, and they aren’t working the way we want them to.
The root of the problem is the hate we spread, the misinformation, the politics over the lives of people, people just like us. People are dying, every second of every day, their lives used as pawns in the game of politics. Too many people believe they are terrorists, that they are here to kill us, to take our jobs, to ruin America’s sanctity. To solve a problem, we start at the genesis, and the genesis here is the fact that we hate. This hate is the root of the issue, and hate is created by misinformation, misinformation created with politics in mind. Misinformation is a problem beginning centuries ago, a problem some say is impossible to solve, but even deep wounds heal. We must begin by removing bias, a feat harder to climb than K2, but not impossible.
Importance of Removing Bias
This feat can possibly be achieved by removing support for clearly biased sources, such as FOX or Breitbart, which tied in a survey by Business Insider as the most biased sources. There would be roadblocks, of course, as people tend to believe the sources that represent their own beliefs, and lies are always persistent in a world filled by humans, but nothing is completely impossible. By removing bias, the refugee crisis would be more accurately presented in the media, and therefore would raise awareness, and awareness is the path to solution. From awareness, we lead into increased compassion, and with compassion comes acceptance. Acceptance leads, obviously, to a larger scale of refugee acceptance into safe nations.
In this land of the free and home of the brave, we must be brave enough to grant others the freedom we were born into. Every refugee, every man, woman, and child, is a human being, a fellow person, one placed in an impossible situation. I cannot change the world in one small, insignificant project, but I can change the life of a person by caring. From speaking with refugees, learning their experiences, and connecting with them, I learned that we are all human, that we are all people, that we all deserve a chance in this big, beautiful life we have been gifted, a chance to truly live, and that’s a fact of life that we all must realize.