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  • In honor of World Refugee Day - June 20, 2024...

    When refugees arrive in America, they face overwhelming challenges that prevent them from leading independent, productive lives. Government assistance places them at 30% to 68% below the poverty level (depending on family size), leaving them struggling to survive right off the bat (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], 2024). Though determined and eager to work, insurmountable obstacles quickly dampen their enthusiasm. A foreign, complex land and society, language barriers, cultural differences, and limited or no transportation hinder their ability to find gainful employment and adequately provide for their families. Add the need for childcare, and achieving gainful employment seems almost impossible. Contrary to popular belief, refugees receive assistance from resettlement agencies for only 90 days. The US Government provides about $2400 to the resettlement agency, with almost half going to the agency. During the first 90-day period, refugees receive only $1225 of that money, a little more than $400 per refugee monthly to cover housing, utilities, food, clothing, furnishings, household items, personal items, transportation, and more (United States Department of State, 2024a). Imagine trying to support yourself on $400 a month. This reality forces many families into unsafe, poorly conditioned housing in impoverished areas. After only three months, assistance ceases, leaving these vulnerable families to fend for themselves. Can you imagine being in their shoes? This is where Valens Solutions steps in. We are dedicated to helping these families acclimate to their new country, community, culture, and environment. Collaborating with agencies and organizations in the Montgomery County area, we work diligently to address their most urgent needs, such as safety, healthcare, and access to food and basic necessities. From there, we focus on preparing them for education and employment. At Valens Solutions, we meet our refugee clients where they are and walk with them every step of the way. Together, we build a path to a brighter, healthier future. Myth: The US Government is giving refugees, asylees, and illegal immigrants tens of thousands of dollars a month! Fact: When they come to America, refugees receive $1225. This is expected to pay for everything they need for the first 90 days, including housing, utilities, furnishings, clothing, food, toiletries and personal items, transportation, and more. After 90 days, assistance ceases, and refugees are subject to the same rules and requirements as natural citizens (United States Department of State, 2024a). Asylum seekers receive zero assistance. The US government does not give them money or benefits while they wait for their case to be approved. Once granted asylum, they may receive refugee reception and resettlement benefits (United States Department of State, 2024a). Illegal immigrants receive zero assistance. No money or benefits are given to them by the US Government. Myth: Immigrants are living off the system. Fact: Once resettled in America, refugees may sign up for Medicaid and receive SNAP benefits until they are gainfully employed (United States Department of State, 2024b). Asylum-seekers do not qualify for Medicaid or food stamps. They may be able to acquire food at local food pantries, but many require US identification. Nothing is given by the US Government. Illegal immigrants are not given medical benefits and may qualify for food stamps only if they have a child who was born in America. Myth: The US Government is spending millions on refugees, and they are bleeding us dry! Fact: Between 2005 and 2019, refugees have yielded a net positive fiscal impact of $123.8 billion to the US, with significant contributions at both federal and state levels (Ghertner et al., 2024). Myth: Immigrants are taking all of our jobs. Fact: Approximately 1M legal immigrants come to America yearly (Geiger, 2020). In June of 2024, 8.4M jobs are available (Statista, 2024). If every legal immigrant took an open job, more than 7M would be left for Americans. It is not legal for illegal immigrants to be employed. Fact: Since 1980, the United States has admitted 3.2 million refugees, 1% of the US population (U.S. Department of State & Blinken, 2024). The Islamic Republic of Iran and Türkiye have each admitted 3.4 million refugees, the largest populations worldwide. Fact: In the past 23 years, the highest number of refugees resettled in America have come from the following countries: Myanmar, Iraq, Somalia, Bhutan, Democratic Republic of Congo (Wolf, 2023). Fact: The US refugee cap for FY 2024 is 125k. 65k have come to America this year. References Geiger, A. (2020, August 20). Key findings about u.s. immigrants. Pew Research Center.,arrive%20in%20the%20U.S.%20each%20year. Ghertner, R., Mccartney, S., & Dost, M. (2024, February 15). The fiscal impact of refugees and asylees at the federal, state, and local levels from 2005-2019. ASPE. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. (2024). Poverty guidelines. U.D. Department of Health and Human Services. Statista. (2024, June 22). Monthly job openings U.S. 2024.,8.49%20million%20job%20openings%20in%20the%20United%20States. U.S. Department of State & Blinken, A. J. (2024, June 20). On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2024 [Press release]. United States Department of State. (2024a). U.S. refugee admissions program: Reception and placement. U.S. Department of State. United States Department of State. (2024b). U.S. refugee admissions program. U.S, Department of State. Wolf, C. (2023, September 27). 15 countries with the most refugees in the U.S. U.S. News.

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