DISPLACED PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD
REFUGEES LIVING OUTSIDE THEIR HOME COUNTRY
NEW REFUGEES EACH DAY
YEARS MOST REFUGEES WAIT
IN A CAMP
REFUGEES THAT RESETTLE IN THE CHICAGO AREA EACH YEAR
Refugees flee violence and persecution in their homeland. During their refugee journey, they experience destruction of possessions, murder of family members, torture, terror, and hopelessness. They arrive in the United States with almost nothing but the clothes they are wearing and face the difficult challenge of starting over in a new language and culture with limited help from the government and voluntary agencies.
Refugees' deepest wounds are often emotional. Even after reaching safety in the United States, many refugees still struggle with fear and loneliness. They need to be welcomed or served by a local church and introduced to the healing peace it offers.
The international community agreed to a common definition of "refugee" in 1951 with the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees. The United States Congress legally adopted this definition when it passed the Refugee Act of 1980. This definition states:
A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave his/her homeland and is unable to return because she or he has experienced persecution or has a well- founded fear of persecution. Persecution can be related to race, nationality, religion, political opinions, or membership in a particular social group.
A variety of different words are used when discussing newcomers to our country. Although the words are often used interchangeably, each term has a distinct meaning:
These terms refer to newcomers who intend to reside permanently in the United States. Another category of newcomers are those who enter the United States with a temporary visa to visit friends and relatives, travel or study. Most temporary visitors cannot legally work in the U.S. and must return to their homeland when their visa expires.
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