by Hayley Golden
Today, there are more than 65 million refugees in the world. To put that into perspective, every one in 113 people is a refugee. Needless to say, the refugee crisis is colossal right now, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Fearing persecution, violence and even death, these refugees are being forced to flee from their homes and seek shelter elsewhere. For a portion of Americans, this is an issue that’s brushed aside and forgotten about. However, this crisis is rapidly growing, which means that these displaced peoples need help.
Because of the increasing number of refugees, many countries are putting a limit on the number allowed for resettlement. Within the past year, the United States has put a limit of 50,000 refugees per year; a 60,000 resettlement decrease from the previous year (2016).
“They’re fleeing from persecution, just like we were 200 years ago when the U.S. was founded,” senior Maddie McKillip said. “We were all refugees as one point, and we can’t just claim to be a superpower and want to help people, but still close off our borders and not want to let anyone in.”
Junior Taylor Sterba agreed, saying, “I believe that refugees increase the diversity of America. Immigration assists those escaping dangerous situations and/or gives better opportunities to those who may not have access to them. America was built on refugees and immigrants, so we should be promoting a safe and manageable immigration process instead of threatening deportation, especially if they worked hard and did the necessary requirements to be in this country.”
According to worldvision.org, almost 4.9 million of the world’s refugees are coming from Syria, which has been in a horrific civil war since 2011. As a result, thousands of innocent citizens have been killed, and millions have been forced to flee. About 2.7 refugees are coming from Afghanistan, and around 2.2 million from the Lake Chad Basin, which affects the countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
A multitude of these refugees are fleeing to neighboring countries; many of which are still considered “developing countries.” This poses a problem considering that these developing countries already have trouble supporting themselves.
To make matters even worse, many refugee camps are filled beyond capacity. With the lack of food in many camps, malnutrition has become a fatal problem for many refugees.
Lack of medicine also poses a threat to these people. Many refugees are already in poor health before arriving to the camps. With widespread disease, inadequate sanitation services and tight living quarters, treatment and medicine become a necessity.
Because of problems like these, America and other industrialized countries appear to be a dream land. However, getting to these countries is no easy task.
Less than one percent of refugees who are interviewed for the U.S. actually get past the first step for resettlement (according to obamawhitehouse.archives.gov). Even if they are fortunate enough to pass this first step, the process that follows it is long and tedious.
“They are all invited by our government to be here after a very long and arduous screening process. Most all refugees would rather return to their home but they are unable to do that because it is unsafe,” Mrs. Katy Salzman, founder and moderator of the club Operation Welcome, said.
“Adapting to life here is very hard for most refugee families as they have three short months after arriving to become completely self-sufficient, and they often don’t speak English or understand our systems here. There is so much to learn and very little time afforded to them to do so,” Salzman said.
At the end of the day, not only are these people displaced from their original homes, but they are also forced to seek shelter elsewhere, which can often be a long and exhausting task. With the limited amount of refugees allowed into developed countries, and the growing number of refugees, this poses a huge threat to the world as a whole.