More people have been forced to flee their homes than at any other time since the Second World War. Today 65 million people – 24 per minute – are displaced worldwide by conflict and persecution, a tally greater than the populations of Canada, New and Australia combined.
Today’s refugee will live in a camp for 17 years on average, in limbo until he or she can safely return home or find refuge in another country. Resettlement is a lifesaving and lasting solution for those with nowhere else to turn. It also benefits the countries that welcome them – and yet it is a chance afforded to a mere one percent of refugees worldwide.
Watch: Meet the 1%
Tin Win and Bar Mee are two of the more than 100,000 Burmese who have been living for decades in refugee camps in Thailand, relying on aid to meet their basic needs. The world’s longest civil war keeps them from returning to their home country, Myanmar, and their legal status bars them from building a new life in Thailand outside the camps. The only option they have to give their two young daughters a better future is to resettle in a third country – a chance they received from the United States. The International Rescue Committee recently welcomed the Win family to Salt Lake City, Utah, where they can rebuild their lives.
A new start
Through our resettlement support center in Thailand and Malaysia and our 29 offices in the United States, the IRC helps refugees like Tin Win and Bar Mee start new lives in America. The IRC and other resettlement agencies welcome newly arrived refugees with homes, food, English language lessons and other immediate support. We also provide services to assist them on their paths to becoming permanent U.S. residents and eventually citizens.
Giving sanctuary to the world’s most vulnerable people is one of America’s proudest traditions – and is needed now more than ever. The U.S. resettlement system is the world’s strongest, thoroughly vetting those lucky enough to be offered safety and freedom on our shores.
When refugees like Tin Win and Bar Mee — or former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, or Nobel-prize winning physicist and IRC founder Albert Einstein — come to the U. S., they take every opportunity to thrive. They find jobs, send their children to school, and become productive members of their communities — strengthening the fabric of American society, as newcomers have always done.