Refugees and Immigrants: In Photographs

 

Immigrants are the heart of this country. For hundreds of years people have arrived on our shores seeking safety, stability, and prosperity. Refugees displaced from their homes and torn from their countries wait years, sometimes even a decade, in displaced person’s camps hoping to come to America. Now, that promise of security is threatened. Syrian’s who narrowly escaped Damascus and Aleppo fear being sent back before they get their green card. Mexican and Guatemalan women saved from sex trafficking fear falling back into the hands of their aggressors, and the many refugees from the Congo wonder if they will be able to live safely in a country demonstrating such pronounced racism.

 

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Elizabeth comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo which has been in a civil war since 1996. In 2009, it was estimated that over 45,000 Congolese were dying every month due to widespread disease and famine. An estimated 400,000 women are raped in the Congo every year.
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Teela came to the U.S. from Bhutan. In the 1990’s Bhutan expelled 1/5 of the ethnic Lhotshampa population. Most went to Nepal, a country that does not accept Bhutanese refugees. According to the UNHCR, more than 107,000 Bhutanese refugees living in seven camps in eastern Nepal have been documented since 2008.
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Maurite, like Elizabeth, also comes from the Congo.
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Moussa is Elizabeth’s husband. They came to the U.S. together from the Congo.
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This woman from Iraq is from Iraq. Precipitated by a series of conflicts over the last 30-years and culminating in the violence during the latest American-led invasion, millions of Iraqi’s have been forced to flee insecurity in their home country. Roughly 40% of Iraq’s middle-class is believed to have fled the country since 2006.
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This man wished to remain anonymous.
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Rawan came from Damascus, Syria with her brother only two-months ago. Since the Arab Spring uprising in 2011, Syria has been in a bitter civil war that has left 13.5 million people displaced or requiring humanitarian aid. In August, the United States agreed to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees  a tiny fraction (2%) of the total refugees America accepts in a given year.

 

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Kumar came to the U.S. with his wife Bir Maya. Like Teela, he is a refugee from Bhutan.

There are many ways to offer help to newly arrived refugees and the organizations that support them. A quick google search for “refugee services + your city” should turn up several local organizations working on behalf of newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers. Monetary donations are always a great way to show you support, but volunteering to spend time with a refugee and help them get acquainted with their new community is a wonderful way to de-stigmatize this targeted group. Below are some local organizations to check out.

The African Community Center – Denver

Nationalities Service Center – Philadelphia