What is the difference between refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced person (IDP), and stateless people?
Refugees – People who are unable or unwilling to return to their country of nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Asylum Seekers – People who are seeking international protection. They must undergo legal procedures in which the host country decides if they qualify for refugee or legal status.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) – People who are displaced by armed conflict, generalized violence and human right violations, and natural disasters. They have been forced out of their home but remain within the border of their own country.
Stateless people – People who do not have citizenship by any sovereign country. They are considered as people without nationality. Statelessness occurs for a variety of reasons. A minority group can loose their citizenship when their government fails to include them as residents in the body of citizens when a state becomes independent. Another reason for statelessness is when the government revokes the citizenship of a particular group due to conflicts and wars.
What is United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)?
It was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.
Are refugees legal as residents of the United States?
Yes. According to the Homeland Security, they have legal rights to live in the United States as refugees. One year after their initial arrival in the United States, they are mandated to get their permanent residency (Green card) if they have good standing in the legal system. After five years of being in the United States, they are eligible to apply for citizenship.
Are refugees have legal permit to work in the United States?
Yes. The host agency that help the refugees to resettle in the United States have the responsibility to process their working permit when they arrive in the United States.
What are the process for resettling refugees to the United States?
The United States government establishes an overall refugee admissions ceiling as well as regional allocations before the beginning of each fiscal year. The overall ceiling for refugee admissions in 2018 is 45,000.
The refugees who flee to a UNHCR refugee camp must register as refugees and given refugee status ID cards. It can take a long time to process Identification cards because of the massive influx of refugees in the camp.
The United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) organizes processing priorities to identify individuals and groups who are of special humanitarian concern to the United States and who are eligible for refugee resettlement consideration.
USRAP has three levels of prioritizing the refugee admittance:
Priority 1 – individuals referred by the UNHCR.
Priority 2 – groups of special humanitarian concern.
Priority 3 – family reunification cases.
Once a refugee candidate has been referred to USRAP based on the three priorities, he/she must undergo pre-screening interview with the U.S. Department of State and help him/her to complete the application for admission to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS is a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
A USCIS officer interviews the applicant to determine eligibility for resettlement in the United States. The applicant must undergo security clearance and medical exam before the application is approved. The security clearance ensures that the applicant is not a threat to the United States and the medical exams ensure that the applicant does not bring any contagious disease.
Refugees who successfully complete all the admittance processes are assigned a sponsor, a resettlement agency that assists the refugee applicant with housing, employment, and other services upon arrival. International Rescue Committee, Catholic Charity, Word Relief, and Refugee Services of Texas are several of the NGOs who sponsors refugees.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) makes arrangements for the refugees to travel to the United States. IOM will issue an interest-free loans to cover the cost of airfare to refugees migrating to the United States. The first statement will be sent six months after they arrive in the United States.
The sponsored agency will normally pick-up the refugees from the airport and take them to the apartment that they have reserved for them. The sponsored agency is responsible for helping the refugees to get their social security, working permit, and any government assistance, such as food stamps. They are also responsible for helping the refugees to get jobs. The sponsored agency will support the refugees six to eight months after they arrive in the United States.
Refugees are required by law to apply for legal permanent resident (LPR) status one year after being admitted to the United States. Refugees who are granted LPR status may apply for citizenship five years after their date of admission as refugees.
Sources: Refugees and Asylees: 2012 by Homeland Security
Displacement, The New 21st Century Challenge by UNHCR
How long does the host agency of NGOs support the refugees?
Normally, it is six to eight months depending on the needs of the refugees.
How to get involve with Love Is Ministry?
The great thing about what God is doing through Love Is Ministry is that there are many ministry opportunities that an individual, a community group, or a family can get involve in. Please see our Ministries page for more details. If you are interested in getting involve with Love Is Ministry, please go to Interested in the Ministry page, and fill out the online form.
Does Love Is Ministry accept internships?
Yes. It is our desire to mentor and disciple students from any institution who want to get involve with cross-cultural ministry through refugee ministry. If you are interested, please go to Interested in the Ministry page, and check internship and fill out the rest of the form.
What are the requirements to get involve with Love Is Ministry?
At least 6 months is required to volunteer with us, except for our seasonal ministries, such as summer soccer league and Vacation Bible School (VBS) in the summer.
Background checks is required for our children ministries and mentoring families.
Although we accept non-Christian volunteers, everybody must agree with our core values.