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Refugees in the United States of America from a Victimological Perspective

  • John P. J. DussichEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The first definition of refugee in the US was in the Refugee Act of 1953: as people who lack “the essentials of life” (Immigration 2011). The current primary definition is “any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion” (US Code, Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) ACT 101, 2013). The first real refugees to the land that became the United States of America were the Pilgrims in 1620; the most recent are Syrians whose numbers increased since their civil war started in 2011. Between 1975 and 2016, roughly three million refugees entered the US. The standards used by the US, Canada, and Mexico derive from the United Nations 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Today, the US refugee resettlement program is the largest in the world; it admits roughly two thirds of all persons who apply for resettlement. In my opinion, the broad challenges of the resettlement period must include all injuries as significant to a refugee’s total experiences, not only the hardships of resettlement but also the victimizations prior to their arrival: injuries at the home country and during their escape journey (see Hawilo, The consequences of untreated trauma: Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, 2017; Center for Substance Abuse Treatment-US, Trauma-informed care in behavioral health services, 2014).

Keywords

Escape journey Multiculturalism Persecution Resettlement Victimization 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California State UniversityFresnoUSA

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