Three Myths About Refugees
In Chinese, the word “crisis” consists of the characters for “danger” and “opportunity.” With more than 20 million refugees in the world and more being added each week, the refugee situation is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. To many, refugees can appear to be a threat. This kind of mentality is often undergirded by misheard myths about refugees. However, these myths can be dispelled when the refugee crisis is viewed as an opportunity rather than a danger.

  1. Refugees are a burden on the economy. In the most recent election, voters ranked the economy as the most important issue. Naturally, then, the expected effect of refugees on the economy will influence the types of resettlement policies that people support. Though refugees may initially be a financial burden as they resettle, economists have found that the immigrants have a net positive fiscal impact on the countries that receive them. The tax revenue gained from immigrants outweighs the costs of the benefits they consume. Columbus, Ohio is proof positive that pro-refugee policies are economically beneficial. Refugees in Columbus have not only taken jobs, but they have also helped to create them. In Central Ohio, refugees are about twice as likely to start new businesses compared to native residents.
  2. Refugees are more likely to be dangerous extremists. This myth about refugees could not be further from the truth. To be considered a refugee, an individual must have a reasonable fear of persecution due to ethnicity, religion, politics or social class. In the past decade, only 27% of refugees to the United States have been from the Middle East. Of these, more than 60% have been women or children under the age of 14, hardly the type likely to be violent extremists. In the United States, the probability of being killed by a terrorist refugee is one in 3.64 billion. Even in light of such statistics, suspicions about refugees remain, in large part because of another myth about refugees.
  3. Refugees are not adequately vetted. An application for resettlement to the U.S. can take up to two years to process. Individuals seeking resettlement must apply with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. UNHCR then refers the individual to the U.S. government, which conducts multiple security checks and interviews. Five separate background checks and three in-person interviews are just a couple of the components of the vetting process. If the government determines the candidate qualifies for resettlement, it assigns the refugee to one of nine agencies that assist with successful integration.

Despite what these myths about refugees might lead one to believe, receiving countries need to see the tremendous opportunity, not the questionable danger, in the refugee crisis.

Rebecca Yu

Photo: Flickr

Recovery of MogadishuAs demonstrated in How We Made it in Africa, the mention of the Somalia’s capital city Mogadishu, alluded to images of ruin and destruction due to the World War II aftermath. In 1991, the country’s longtime military leader, Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown, triggering a constant struggle over the control of Mogadishu for years to come.

The once beautiful city, filled with wide boulevards and Italianate colonial architecture had become divided among rival warlords. Government-built schools and hospitals became prime targets for looters bent on destroying all remaining vestiges of Siad Barre’s 22-year rule. For a long period of time, chaos and crime thrived in one of Africa’s most cherished cities.

However, when the militants were pulled out of the city in 2011, the reconstruction of Mogadishu began. According to the New York Times, the hammering sound of machine guns has now been replaced with the sound of construction demonstrating that the recovery of Mogadishu is well underway. New hospitals, homes, shops, hotels and bars are being built and life has emerged from the once decrepit city.

BBC acknowledges a wave of reconstruction, which is being led by Somali expats who have come back to invest in their homeland. Foreign investors are also providing capital toward the recovery of Mogadishu.

Mohamed Yusuf, director of Madina Hospital told  How We Made it in Africa that the city is like “a patient who was in a deep coma, and then suddenly he moves his fingers and opens his eyes. Now he is moving his limbs and unfolding his legs.”

Consequently, the outside world has noticed. In a recent survey of the world’s fastest-growing cities with a population of at least 1 million, the U.S.-based consulting firm Demographia ranked Mogadishu second on the list. Demographia estimated Mogadishu’s annual growth rate at 6.9 percent, due to the return of Somalis who have come home to explore investment opportunities following improvements in the city.

In Mogadishu, the central business district is once again a beehive of commercial activity. Somali singers just held their first concert in more than two decades at the National Theater, which formerly served as a weapons depot and a national lavatory.

Mogadishu has a bright and thriving future in the context of culture, enterprise and new markets.

Megan Hadley

Photo: Flickr



Borgen Project volunteer Anthony Swingruber speaking at a town hall event in New York.


The Borgen Project is currently hiring for the following national volunteer opportunities. Volunteers work remotely.

Regional Director

Location: Nationwide (Telecommute Volunteer Role)
Salary: Unpaid
Duration: 6-months
Hours: 4-6 hours per week
Start Date: New programs begin every month, you choose the month you wish to start

You don’t need to be a lobbyist to help influence foreign policy. As a Regional Director, you’ll serve as a Borgen Project Ambassador in your city – mobilizing your friends, family and colleagues to contact Congress in support of key poverty reduction legislation.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Meet with local congressional leaders and lobby for legislation that improves living conditions for the world’s poor.
  • Mobilize people in your community to contact their congressional leaders to support poverty reduction legislation.
  • Manage and implement fundraising campaigns.
  • Build a network of people engaged in the cause.
  • Serve as The Borgen Project’s ambassador in your city.


  • Basic understanding of U.S. Politics and international development.
  • Highly organized with the ability to prioritize multiple functions and tasks while managing their work time efficiently.
  • Strong team player that loves to bring new ideas to the table.
  • Ability to demonstrate frequent independent judgment with decisiveness.
  • Excellent overall communication skills: oral, written, presentation.

How to Apply: To apply, send your resume to [email protected]



Location: Nationwide (Telecommute Volunteer Role)
Salary: Unpaid
Duration: 3-months
Hours: 4-hours per week
Start Date: New programs begin every month, you choose the month you wish to start

This is a great entry-level volunteer position for someone looking to be part of The Borgen Project. Advocates can operate from anywhere in the U.S.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Serve as an ambassador for the world’s poor. Build awareness of the issues and ways people can help.
  • Manage and implement fundraising campaigns.
  • Represent The Borgen Project in your city – attend events and engage people in the cause.
  • Contact congressional leaders in support of key poverty-reduction programs.


  • Excellent overall communication skills: oral, written, presentation.
  • Ability to self-manage and prioritize assignments.

How to Apply: To apply, send your resume to [email protected]



Location: Nationwide (telecommute volunteer role)
Salary: Unpaid
Duration: 3-months
Hours: 12 hours per week

This is a 12-week, part-time volunteer role. The selected candidate will be able to work from home and pick their own schedule, but must meet weekly deadlines.

  • Write one article per week for The Borgen Project’s blog and Magazine. Writing will focus on quality, but also improving search ranking.
  • Assist with advocacy and fundraising.

Qualifications: Strong research and writing skills. Must be able to work independently and meet deadlines with very little supervision. Experience writing SEO-friendly content is helpful, but not required.

How to Apply: To apply, send your resume and two writing samples to [email protected].

Guest Contributor

Do you care about global issues and have a knack for writing easy-to-follow content? If you answered “yes” and would like to see your articles featured on The Borgen Project’s Blog or Magazine, then we would like to hear from you!

To apply:

  • Review the Writer’s Guidebook and when you’re ready, propose your topic on our News Team & Assignment Desk. Please only submit articles that have been approved.

  • Email your completed submissions to [email protected].

  • We’ll reply within a timely manner with a decision – either “Yes, we’ll publish your article on our Blog or Magazine” or “Please give it another shot — this one isn’t in line with what we’re looking for”.

  • You can send in as many articles as you’d like as often as you’d like!

This is an excellent opportunity to have your original content read by more than a million people who visit each month.

Volunteer Editor

Location: Nationwide (remote volunteer role)
Salary: Unpaid
Duration: 3-months
Hours: 3 hours per week

The Borgen Project is an innovative, national campaign that is working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy. The Editor is responsible for reviewing articles submitted by The Borgen Project’s national team of writers. Editors will also perform edits for articles appearing on BORGEN Magazine and The Borgen Project Blog.

Our volunteer position is a part-time, work-from-home role. You can set your own schedule to edit for a minimum of 3 hours per week.

  • Edit and format articles submitted by national writers.
  • Work with writers to improve their articles.

Qualifications: Must have great editing skills. Must be able to work independently and meet deadlines with very little supervision. Experience writing SEO-friendly content is helpful, but not required.

To apply: Please email a copy of your resume and two writing samples to [email protected]