The difference between refugees and immigrants
Thirteen percent of America is made up of immigrants and in 2011, 1500 Syrian refugees were accepted into the United States. In September of next year, 10,000 refugees will be welcomed. New people enter America every year, some legal and some illegal immigrants, along with refugees seeking help from other countries. Yet, some people don’t know the difference between an immigrant and a refugee. So what sets the two apart?
There are a plethora of differences between being an immigrant and having refugee status. The main one is that refugees are fleeing something in their country temporarily, and often times plan on returning, and immigrants are seeking a permanent home in a new country where they can have a better life. By definition a refugee is “a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster,” and an immigrant is “a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.” The differences of these two statuses is that one is to seek asylum and the other is to find a new home. In addition, immigrants leave by choice, while refugees flee in fear of their lives or their freedom.
Across the world there is a person, a refugee, hoping to go to America. However, their reasons differ from the immigrant’s. While the immigrant is seeking new opportunities in the country that they are entering, the refugee is simply trying to get away from their country at any cost, and will have to prove their refugee status by proving that they could not survive in their old country to get into a country.
Fear. Persecution. Chaos. Fleeing. The girl not yet seventeen escapes her home of Syria in the hope of finding sanctuary in another country like the United States of America. She has seen her brother beaten by soldiers and thrown in jail, along with countless other acts of violence committed to those she loves. Her night of escape with her family must happen as soon as possible, and so with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and hope in their hearts, they make their way to a refugee camp. Exhausted, they take in the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, not knowing if they can even survive living this way for very long, let alone make it to a country where they can be free and safe. They could be forced back to their country or stay at the camp for the remaining duration of their lives. She knows her chances are slim now that even more countries and states deny their entry and that she is not likely to survive her endeavor. Is the chnace of a better life worth it?
There have been 11.3 million immigrants from Mexico coming to America. The majority of them are middle aged women who have had to leave their children behind because of the danger and uncertainty that accompanies the other side of the border. Mexicans make up 49 percent of undocumented immigrants in America, according to Pew Research Center. The immigrants are trying to better their lives and the lives of their families after having been forced to live a life of poverty. Across the globe, there are a total of 50 million refugees. Afghanistan, Syria, and Somalia produce over half of the world’s refugees. Most of the refugees from Syria are girls younger than 17 years old. The refugees are forced to be in refugee camps until their country has fixed its problems, they get sent back, or a country accepts their entry.