We’re living through the worst refugee crisis in world history. Across the globe, 108 million people have been forced from their homes by violence, poverty, persecution, famine, natural disaster, and chaos. Around 40% of these displaced individuals are children.
Bethany believes every one of them deserves to be safe, loved, and connected.
“Welcome. You belong here.”
Every year, tens of thousands of refugees are resettled in the U.S., seeking safety and a chance at a new life. With your help, we surround refugees with welcome and support during one of the hardest times in their lives. Our goal is to help refugees become self-sufficient, thriving members of their new communities.
Top five countries of origin for refugees resettled through Bethany:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
Frequently asked questions
Who is a refugee?
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (abbreviated UNHCR) defines a refugee as someone who is escaping from, or has a well-founded fear of, persecution in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or inclusion in a certain social group. To be eligible for resettlement in another country (like the U.S.), a person must register as a refugee with UNHCR or at a foreign embassy.
The overwhelming majority of refugees are permanently displaced, meaning they will likely never be able to return to their original homes. Their only option is to find new homes.
What’s the difference between a refugee and an asylum-seeker?
These labels describe similar circumstances, but different pathways into the United States. In the context of the U.S. immigration system, a refugee is someone who has fled their home due to a well-founded fear of persecution or violence, and who has been referred to the U.S. by an organization like UNHCR. The status of “refugee” is typically given to someone before they enter the country.
An asylum-seeker is someone who crosses a border into the U.S. seeking safety from violence, poverty, or persecution but does not yet have a legal status. Asylum-seekers must apply for legal status once in the country, a process that can take years.
Are refugees dangerous?
Coming to the U.S. as a refugee is the most difficult way to legally enter the country. Refugees undergo a more thorough vetting process than any other traveler to the United States. According to UNHCR and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the vetting process includes screening by eight federal agencies and six different security databases, five separate background checks, four biometric security checks, three in-person interviews, two inter-agency security checks, as well as medical screenings.
A person with a history of violence or intent to do harm to the country is unlikely to try to come to the U.S. as a refugee, as they would be compromised in the vetting process.
How do I serve refugees if I don’t live near a Bethany refugee resettlement program?
Bethany is one of many organizations around the country serving refugees. If you don’t live near a Bethany resettlement program, use this interactive map from the Office of Refugee Resettlement to find a program near you.
You can also support refugees by giving a financial gift to Bethany. Resettlement agencies rely on the generosity of donors to sustain their programs and provide refugees with services needed to integrate and thrive in their new communities. By giving to resettlement programs, you’re embracing refugees and letting them know they’re welcome.
I’m a refugee or asylum-seeker. How do I get help?
If you’re a refugee or asylum-seeker who needs information or support, please visit this page to learn how we can serve you.