6 Biggest Challenges Faced By Refugees and Immigrants in the US

6 Biggest Challenges Faced By Refugees and Immigrants in the US

Life in the United States is not always a walk in the park.
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The United States of America is called the “melting pot” because there are all different types of people anywhere one looks: African Americans, Africans, Native Americans, Asians, Middle Easterners, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Europeans, Hispanics, Whites, the list is endless. The number of refugees in the United States is about 1.8 million since 1980, with about 40,000-75,000 refugees arriving annually. Although people come to America in hopes of a better life for them and their families, this is not always met without any hardships and difficulties.


1. Learning the language

In a country where English is the predominant language that is spoken by the population, immigrants and refugees have no choice but to learn English in order to be able to find a job, go to school and communicate with others. Although ESL classes are provided, refugees can meet difficulty in being able to find transportation or have time to leave their families and jobs to attend.

2. Finding employment

As a refugee without the needed skills or education for a profession, finding a job can be a struggle. They find themselves working odd jobs with late hours, no benefits, and low pay. Where some refugees had degrees and occupations as engineers, doctors, and educators in their home country, coming to the United States they are unable to easily have the same status. Others find it tough being able to communicate in English while on the job. It also is not an easy process to be able to enter the country, learn English, secure a job AND try to work your way up the profession ladder, so this can cause great frustration.

3. Impact on education

Refugees who have children in school go to great lengths to make sure that they are exceeding in their education. Some children find it hard to succeed in school when they feel they are behind everyone else and cannot get the help they need. This can be tough when the parents are not well educated in the subjects or are fluent in the language to assist their children from struggling in school.

4. Cultural barriers

While one gets used to their own culture and way of life, upon arriving in the United States refugees can’t help but feel a little out of place at times. Cuisine and religious practices can act as cultural barriers. American cuisine mainly is known by its intricate use of meat, specifically pork. For Jews and Muslims, who are only allowed to eat meat that is specially prepared, dietary restrictions are not easily met in the United States as they are back in home countries. Muslim women who wear the hijab alongside American women, those who stop in the middle of what they are doing to pray, and fasting during special holy months may not always be a common practice in America and can catch people off guard.

5. Homesickness

To live in a new country that is unfamiliar is not so light on the heart. Many refugees leave behind the familiarity of their dearest friends and family for a chance at a new life. If coming from a country that is unsafe and a war-zone, visits are not always accessible and worries about their family’s safety will always be on refugee’s minds. By being overwhelmed with sadness and longing to be with loved ones this doesn’t assist in making life easier.

6. Racism and discrimination

Although America is a melting pot and welcomes all types of people, unfortunately it is not exempt from racism and discrimination. Refugees may be seen as the “other” by some for being different in skin color, culture, language, or in the way they look. In school, children of refugees may face bullies for having not knowing English, speaking with an accent, or dressing differently from everyone else. Stereotypes pass through our lives as a disease. Dark colored skin, veils, head covers, accents, and religious affiliations are some factors that raise eyebrows in people who are not well aware of different. Refugees face hardships of trying to fit into American way of life but being met by discrimination for being themselves and not being American “enough”.


Cover Image Credit: Dean J. Koepfler

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?

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This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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