1. Who is a refugee?
As defined by Article 1 of the 1951 Refugee Convention: “a person owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.
2. How many refugees come to the United States?
73, 311 refugees were resettled in the U.S. in fiscal year 2010. The number of refugees from each country to be accepted for U.S. resettlement is determined by the government each year. Among industrialized countries, the United States has consistently accepted the largest number overall, but in terms of land area and per-capita falls behind its European counterparts. The US resettles less than half of 1% of refugees worldwide. Developing nations host three quarters of the world’s refugees.
3. What do refugees receive when they arrive?
In January 2010, the government’s one-time allocation on behalf of each refugee arrival was increased to $1,800 from $900. In Utica, that means $1,100 of federal money is spent on first month’s rent, security deposit, furniture, clothing, household goods and other items for approximately 500 people annually.
4. What services do refugees receive when they arrive?
Refugees are provided with referrals to health professionals and social services, assistance with registering children for school, and orientation to their local community and American norms, laws, and culture.
5. What health and security screenings do refugees receive?
Refugees undergo medical screening and treatment before they are granted permission to resettle in the United States. Upon arrival, refugees receive further health screening and receive appropriate vaccinations. The Department of Homeland Security conducts in-depth checks of each refugee prior to being admittance to the United States.
6. How are public safety services affected?
Each newly arriving refugee learns how to interact with the police and public safety services during cultural orientation, and practices traffic safety with an on-site training course. MVRCR also has experience offering training for communicating effectively with refugees to public safety officers.
7. Are refugees eligible for public assistance?
Refugees are eligible for federally reimbursed public assistance for the first eight months after arrival in the United States under the Refugee Cash Assistance program. Refugees also qualify for Refugee Medical Assistance, which pays the costs for many initial health services. These two programs are funded through the Department of Health and Human Services. Refugees are usually eager to begin work soon after they arrive in the United States In order to attain economic self-sufficiency and repay their loans for travel to the US as quickly as possible.
8. Do refugees pay taxes?
Refugees pay all taxes, including property taxes. The average immigrant (including refugees) pays $1,800 more in taxes than she receives in benefits, according to a landmark study by the National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences. Over their lifetimes, the average immigrant and her immediate descendants contribute $80,000 more in taxes than they receive in benefits.
9. Where will the refugees find work? Who will help them find work?
MVRCR’s Employment Unit provides job counseling within a month of arrival, refugees generally begin to work within three months of arrival. Refugees are placed in entry-level positions as they begin to work in the United States. Because many have limited English skills, they usually start with manual labor such as factory work, washing dishes, or hotel housekeeping.
10. Will the refugees learn English?
Within weeks of their arrival, adult refugees without primary caregiver responsibilities are placed in English as a Second Language classes, and are required to attend until they find jobs and become self-sufficient.