Rose H. Michigan

Refugee Resettlement Programs in the US

The programs in place in the US to help refugees are pretty flawed, and could use some changes.

Dear Future President,

Every year more refugees enter the US, but what happens to them once they get here?Are the government programs in place to help refugees working? Or are refugees struggling more because of the structure of these programs? Even though my own dad is a refugee from Vietnam, I never understood how or if the government helped him after coming to the US. Because whenever he talked about his past, he ended with " and then i came to America." What happened after that? Do they just throw you on the street? According to him the refugee programs were quite confusing and hard to navigate. And after reading about other people's experiences, it's clear something has to change.

Literally ,in some cases, before even setting foot in the US refugees can be in debt. Because they have to pay for their own plane tickets, and when they don’t have the money , they have to get a loan from the government. Plane tickets from certain countries are like 1000 to 2000 dollars, and just for a family of three, that’s 3000 to 6000 dollars they’re in debt. Which is a lot when you're just starting up. I know you can’t just print free money, but I  just think that's f-ed up. Like they’re coming to America for a fresh start and that’s how they gotta start off?

Another thing that I noticed while reading stories, was that most of the refugees would have preferred a job opposed to getting cash handouts for a few months. Because the stipends that they are given only last for a few  months, and are often reduced, because of late fees and penalties.  Mulla from Access California Services, an organization dedicated to helping under served populations (says about the stipends)"Once it’s up you’re supposed to know how to speak the language, be employed, and be able to take care of yourself and your own your needs without the government providing any sort of assistance.” and for many people this is just impossible. So maybe instead of giving cash handouts, the government could increase public works, giving jobs to refugees, and other jobless Americans. Giving them jobs will make it easier to adjust to American culture, because then they have a job to start them off. It's like the saying "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Giving someone cash can get them a meal or clothes, but if you give them a job, they can start to build a life in America.

Refugees programs like the IRC have helped millions of people, despite their problems. But i think the US should continue to reshape these programs, to make it easier for refugees to assimilate into the US. Being a refugee’s scary,you basically have to start life over all over again.  and it should be government’s job to make sure this transition is as smooth as possible. 

Avondale High School

Avondale High School

Honors English 10

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