A SERIES ON REFUGEES: Introduction

“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.” -Carlos Fuentes

In the coming weeks I intend to right a few posts on refugees and refugee resettlement in the U.S. I want to stress that I should not be considered an expert on the topic, nor do I represent my former employer while I am writing this. These are my own thoughts, observations, research and conclusions. This is a wordpress blog, which means you should ABSOLUTELY FACT CHECK ME, and let me know if I get something wrong via comments. I will be doing my research for this and cite as much as I can. I will also rely on books I have read on the subject like The Middle of Everywhere: Hepling Refugees Enter the American Community by Mary Phipher, Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John, Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help by Larissa MacFarquhar, among other books and materials including academic materials from sociology and political sciences classes from college. I will also rely on my experiences working with refugee resettlement first in special medial case management, then reception and placement and the youth program, the stories of my friends (here and abroad), coworkers, and clients. Though I will not use specific examples as that breaches a good number of confidentiality agreements and personal boundaries, I will relate the ends and outs I’ve learned. And lastly I will use true, factual media articles—meaning I will stay between the Washington Post and Fox on the media left/right media balance.

While I 100% all-day will fight for refugees and refugee resettlement in the U.S., this series is not meant to be a partisan political piece. I seek to share the information that leads me to conclude refugee resettlement is good for America, a moral mandate and poses no risk to our national security. In a sense, the existence of refugees, and by extension those of us who work in refugee resettlement has become political. Every time I answer the question: so what do you do for work? my answer raises emotions and politics. It is unavoidable. Many people applaud working with this segment of the populations others have raised questions of safety, and a few even feel the need to get loud and angry. While answering the phones at my former employer we got calls from all sides and confusion exists for those in support and opposition, hence the motivation for this mini series. All aspects of immigration are dense, complicated, difficult to access in their entirety and ever-changing so I do understand needing more information and hopefully I can add to the truth.

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