Coming to our Country
Since day one of president Trump’s announcement to run for office, the country has turned their eyes to hyperfocus on the controversial issue of immigration and border control. However, with an increasing quantity of conversation comes an increasing amount of misinformation. The topic of immigration is far from black and white, the gray areas often left behind during debates cause a mass of confusion and panic throughout the country.
Migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants are not synonyms. Each come from different backgrounds and their way into the United states is paved by different paths. The countries conversation is dominated by the words “immigrant” and “refugee” used interchangeably, but in fact there is a major difference between the two.
An immigrant would be considered as such when they make the conscious decision to move to a foreign country with the intent to settle down there. Becoming an immigrant however is a lengthy and often very expensive process. According to Supermoney.com the costs can reach thousands. “a “Petition for Alien Relative” comes with a filing fee of $535, an “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status” costs $1,140 in fees, and an “Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” is the most expensive at $3,675 in filing fees.”
These are just the fees to apply, with no guarantee of admission. The process could take from 6 months to a couple years depending on the situation, with extreme vetting and multiple interviews with officials working on behalf of the United States.
Migrants are similar in a way that they are not forced to leave their country, the difference is that migrants tend to move from place to place for economical reasons such as seasonal work. Migrants do not plan to stay in the places they travel to for work.
The biggest confusion comes with refugees and asylum-seekers. A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her home because of war, violence or persecution, often without warning.” states Rescue.org “They are unable to return home unless and until conditions in their native lands are safe for them again.” Refugees must be accepted into a country either by the countries own organization or through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees working along the government of the country taking in refugees. Asylum-seekers are similar in motive, but instead of being vetted by the United States or the United Nations, they are forced to apply for protected either at the border or after crossing.
The international Rescue Community states that there are 68.5 million refugees and asylum-seekers around the world. People unable to go home safely and are stuck trying to survive due to circumstances outside of their control. With the amount of politically charged and misinformed debated, major powers in the world who could be of help for these people have turned their heads.
There are arguments from both sides on what should be done about the issue. Some see it as a national security issue, or that it takes opportunities away from American citizens. Others believe it is a matter of human rights and the United States, as one of the strongest nations in the world, must step in.
There are many ways to voice your opinion, no matter what side. Call your state representatives and senators, vote for people you believe will represent your opinion in government, and go out and protest or raise awareness for the issue. Americans have the luxury to use their voices under the first amendment to bring awareness to this global crisis.