Refugees Need Our Help Now More Than Ever, But The Trump Administration Has Only Tried To Stop Helping

Refugees Need Our Help Now More Than Ever, But The Trump Administration Has Only Tried To Stop Helping

One of the most vulnerable populations in our society - immigrants.
Jake VP.
Jake VP.

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, in a safe town, the idea that my home wouldn't be safe, that I may never know where my family is, and that I may never see my home again, was a thought that never crossed my mind. But for many, it is a reality.

Now a year into the Trump presidency, one of the biggest changes we have seen is this administration's view of immigrants, and one of the most vulnerable populations of immigrants are refugees. In this article, I will explain how the Trump Administration's actions have affected refugees, why their actions are at the least unfounded, and what will 2018 look like for refugees.

So a quick look at Trump's various travel bans, broken down by this Vox article:

"The first version of the travel ban was issued in January, was in effect for a week before being put on hold by the courts, and was withdrawn in February. The second was issued in March, was put on hold by the courts before its start date, was finally allowed to go into effect by the Supreme Court in June, and expired in September. The current version was issued at the end of September, was put on hold before it was set to go into effect, was allowed to proceed for people without bona fide relationships in November, and is now, in December, being allowed to go into effect in full."

The Vox article continues with saying that the last ban has no known end date. So what is the ban for? Well, the Trump Administration claims it is for security reasons. So what kind of security measures go into bringing a refugee into America?

First, a refugee would have to apply to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) who then take information and do an interview. (less than 1% move forward).

Then, a Resettlement Support Center compiles the information, and the US begins its own security measures.

This starts with a biographic security check run through multiple agencies, and then it is followed up by an interview handled by the Department of Homeland Security, a biometric security check.

After all that there is a medical check, and assignment to a location. There is one last check, and if there is a single doubt, they are not admitted. If you want both the State Department and Obama's old Whitehouse archive have nice infographics of the whole thing (I prefer Obama's personally).

So does the screening process work? Well, a 2015 Time article said that of the 750,000 refugees since September 11, 2001, there have been 0 arrested on domestic terrorism charges, and only 2 charged with terrorist activities. Compared to the 190 people who were natural-born citizens and arrested for domestic terrorism, refugees look to be much less likely of committing acts of terrorism.

So although refugees are even less likely than natural born citizens to commit acts of terrorism the Trump Administration has been stifling their ability to enter the US.

You can see in the above graphic that although the need to resettle refugees has gone up in 2017, from an already high point in 2016, the Trump Administration (as of October 2017) was nowhere near reaching the number of people resettled in 2016.

This would be a scary trend to see continue since the United Nations (UNHCR) projects that close to 1.2 million people will need to be resettled, .1 million increase from 2017.

We all need to be more aware of the need for refugees, and what the Trump Administration is doing to prevent them from resettling in the US.

In 2018 we all need to do our part to help, be it voting for a candidate that helps rather than hurts refugees, or getting involved with the UNHCR. You can also donate to an agency helping refugees directly. Some great places to donate are MercyCorp, Oxfam, Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, or International Rescue Committee.

There is an end to this if we all work together. Donating to causes that help refugees, supporting politicians that fight for refugees, and fighting bigotry that would seek to stop any progress from being made. All of these are crucial steps towards a world where everyone can be safe to live their lives.

Cover Image Credit: United Nations Instagram

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?


This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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