SCM is working with locally resettled Syrian, Iraqi, and Afghani refugees to help them adjust to their new homes in the Washington state. We have been providing resources, activities, and some financial assistance to help them adjust and get on their feet and become self supporting.
Many people don’t realize the path a refugee takes to get to the US. When they apply for asylum, that is a process that begins at the UN level. They go through an extensive application and screening process, then the UN finds a country to host the refugees. If the US agrees to take them, they go through further screening and extreme vetting which includes bio-metric and health scans, interviews by various US intelligence and security agencies, background checks and cross checks, more interviews, and then, possibly after a process of 18 – 24 months, they are told if they are accepted to come to the US or not.
To travel to the US, an agency contracted with the US government purchases airline tickets for the family on the basis that the money will be repaid to that agency – they sign a promissory note for whatever the cost of the tickets is. If you can imagine, a family of 6 – 8 people whose tickets were about $1200 – $1400 each, saddles the family with a debt immediately upon their arrival in the US. The agency rents an apartment for them, and may provide some assistance for about 3 months, then the families are expected to make it on their own. The adults are expected to find work right away, and the children begin attending school.
SCM has been helping to pick up where the resettlement agencies have left off. We have been providing resources, some financial assistance, and activities. We have provided English lessons for the adults and Arabic grammar and writing for the children, information on navigating in the community, how to do things like ride public transportation, pay bills, and just get everyday things done that are different than what they did at home.