The United States has a long history of welcoming refugees from other countries, with people across the nation helping refugees to resettle here, build communities, and join those communities already present. The number of refugees welcomed into the U.S. annually has ebbed and flowed over time, with the issue becoming increasingly partisan in recent years. Throughout, even as refugees have found welcoming communities upon arriving in the U.S., they’ve also confronted anti-immigrant sentiment, navigated labyrinthine bureaucracy to secure their status, and faced an uphill climb to secure their economic footing.
At the same time, through mutual aid within their own communities and with the help of resettlement agencies and volunteers, many resettled refugees thrive. Read on to learn more about the real-time experience of resettlement for one woman, the history of refugee resettlement in the U.S., and key terms to understand how refugees fit within the larger landscape of the U.S. immigration system.
Maria’s story takes place against the backdrop of more than 100 years of U.S. refugee resettlement. Here’s an overview of the milestones in that history:
Here are a few key terms to know that shed light on how refugee resettlement fits into the larger universe of U.S. immigration.
While the terminology may be unfamiliar, resettled refugees and their communities have long thrived around the country and have produced more than a few well-known faces.