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Refugees are people who have fled their home country and who have proven to the United Nations that they are unable to return to their country because of credible fear of persecution on the basis of national origin, religion, ethnicity, political opinions or membership in a particular social group. They are ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances. Immigrants are people who have chosen to relocate to the U.S. through a specific path of immigration, usually through a family member or employment, some waiting for years to enter the U.S. legally. Refugees and immigrants have many thing in common once they arrive, though their path our community may be very different.
In the United States
Commonly Asked Questions:
Do refugees choose to come to Syracuse? Not quite. They do choose to resettle in the United States. But (unless they already have family members here) they are randomly assigned to one of many cities in the US who have resettlement programs.
Where are refugees coming from? Currently (2009) most refugees are coming here from Burma, Bhutan, Somalia, and Iraq. Also the Sudan, Cuba, Rwanda and the Congo.
Will they speak English? Maybe. ESL classes for adults is offered at the Syracuse City School Refugee Assistance Program, as well as several other agencies in town.
Links to learn more: