Cedars, April 2018

Refugees resettled in the Columbus area since 1983 April 2018 4 THE GLOBAL REFUGEE CRISIS: JOURNEY The Flight to Safe Haven Explaining the Journey of a Refugee Law enforcement and intelligence agencies run numerous security checks. Then the individual will have an in-person interview with a member of Homeland Security. The application is conditionally accepted. The U.S. government outsources the initial processing to resettlement processing centers, which are run by NGOs. Refugees go through medical screening and are given a partner agency, which will help them in their transition. While waiting for arrival, refugees are given a cultural orientation and a second inter-agency security check to evaluate any new information. They are checked once more at the airport and then admitted to the United States. Resettlement organizations find housing for each refugee with certain criteria: it must be safe, sanitary, affordable and near public transportation, among other requirements. Within six months, the U.S. government expects a working-age refugee to find a job. Within the first 30 days, refugees must apply for a social security number. Refugee children are registered in school based on age, which can cause difficulties if their education was interrupted. Agencies help refugees find available English classes. After one year of residency in the United States, refugees can apply for Permanent Resident Alien (PRA) status (also known as a “green card”). After five years of residency in the United States, refugees can apply for citizenship. The UNHCR is in charge of deciding if individuals qualify as refugees, or more officially, determining their “refugee status.” Individuals must first register with the UNHCR in order to receive refugee status. An individual will be referred to the U.S. for resettlement by the UN, a U.S. Embassy or a non- governmental organization (NGO), and begin the application process. They may put preferences for country of arrival based on where relatives live or other factors. Alexandria Hentschel is a sophomore International Studies and Spanish double major and the Off-Campus news editor for Cedars. She enjoys old books, strong coffee, and honest debate. by Alex Hentschel W ho are refugees, and what process do they go through to get to the United States? According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a refugee is someone who has “fled their home country and cannot return because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.” Refugees usually have no idea how long it will be before it is safe to return home, and often have no time to plan for departure. Items such as professional documents and diplomas are often left behind, which can make the process difficult. Here is the journey, explained step by step: For refugees arriving in the United States, the average duration time of processing between the time of application and the time of arrival in the United States can range anywhere from 18 months to three years. The vetting is often arbitrary, and determined by the refugee admittance ceiling determined by the current administration, which is usually not exhausted. Very few refugees actually enter the country. This is why the UNHCR states that less than one percent of refugees in need are actually resettled. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8