Many Americans have the mistaken notion that refugees arriving here in the US have had a free ride and will continue to get a free ride in their new homes. This could not be further from the truth.
The financial impact of being a refugee is devastating. Not only have they lost everything – home, savings, possessions – they arrive already with a debt hanging over their heads to the US Government. Yes, as refugees they can qualify for various kinds of assistance for no/low income families like healthcare, but that’s it. The resettlement agency is contracted by the US Government to work with the refugees and also to collect/process the payments made for the airline ticket loan.
The organization that is assigned to help them get resettled rents an apartment for about 3 months, then the refugee family is on their own to pay the rent and all the associated utility bills, and they have to pay back a loan for their airline tickets. The tickets usually average about $1200 – $1400 per person, so a family of 6 arrives with promissory note to pay for about $7200 – $8400. Keep in mind that they arrive with varying degrees of English proficiency, and a wide range of skills, but this doesn’t always guarantee a job right away, so paying this loan can become a burden, and if they don’t pay it on time, it can become a black mark on their credit report.
Many of the families resettled in our area are having a hard time with the financial aspect of being the US and they need help making ends meet as they get more settled and financially capable. Our goal is always to see them become fully independent and thriving in their new community, but the financial burden can be overwhelming to some, so we want to be able to help them make the monthly payment on their loan for their airline tickets. Payment amounts range from $50 a month to $200, depending on the size of the loan. Please help us to help them keep current on this payment, set up a recurring monthly donation to go towards this monthly obligation until they are able to make it on their own.
Below are two examples of the bills the refugee families receive monthly to pay for their airline tickets. These bills are for small families, 3-4 people, two adults and small children.