Most Americans will never know what it is like to be forcibly displaced from their home country. Living in a place where there is no threat of violence is a luxury when compared to the hardships faced by many other people. For those who are not privileged, every day can seem like a struggle. The reasons for impoverished people coming to the United States are many.
Asylum-Seeker and Refugee
What is the difference between an asylum-seeker and a refugee? Refugees are those who have to seek safety in neighboring counties during times of war or other perils and are recognized by the International Law. Asylum-seekers, however, are migrants whose identity as a refugee is not recognized by their home country. Their reason for fleeing may be related to personal threats of violence and they have not yet claimed refugee status. These two can fall under the term “migrant”.
In the current political climate, a pilgrimage to the United States is a great risk. Therefore, it is important for the natural born citizens of this nation to align themselves with the reasons impoverished people come to the United States.
Top 10 Reasons Impoverished People Come to the United States
- Persecution: Impoverished people come to the United States to escape persecution, whether it is related to race, religion or political affiliation. Migration is the last option for safety and it is all many families can afford.
- Escape Violence: Many people coming to the southern border of the United States hail from the Northern Triangle of Central America, i.e. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The rate of targeted killings and gang-related violence has spiked in these countries in the past few years, causing many citizens to flee.
- Environmental Factors: Drastic changes in the natural environment is a prevalent reason for migration to the United States. After the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, around 179,000 people living in Puerto Rico came to the continental U.S.
- Healthcare: The impoverished migrants coming into the United States often come from countries with unaffordable or extremely limited access to healthcare.
- Jobs: Searching for employment is a top priority for migrants at the southern border. It is nothing short of astounding that nearly two-thirds of adults are able to find work within five weeks of entering, often accepting low wages to provide for themselves and their families.
- Children’s Bright Future: In the hopes of offering a better life for their children, many families have sent them out alone. Since the beginning of this year, over 74,000 children have been met at the U.S. southern border without being accompanied by a parent.
- Family Reunification: For parents who often have to send their children away ahead of them, coming to the United States is their chance to live as a family free of poverty and persecution.
- Protection: In their search for a place that offers an obligation to protect its citizens, migrants come with the hope that they will be protected in the United States. Displacement is something no person would want to go through more than once in their lifetime, so these people are looking for permanence as well. About 60 percent of the undocumented immigrants living in the United States has been there for the past decade.
- Education: Public education is a luxury many impoverished people do not have access to. Coming to the United States provides not only an immediate better life for their families but a long-term plan for their children’s education.
- Quality of Life: Overall, this was the promise made to immigrants going back almost 200 years, that a better life was waiting for them if they were willing to work for it.
The above reasons for impoverished people to come to the United States will not only help American citizens empathize with their struggle but possibly look for ways to help them out. Embracing migrants is something that has been an enormous struggle for centuries in the United States, and while every immigrant’s reasons for leaving their home country may be different, their desire to build new, bright future is what brings them here.
– Tresa Rentler