An immigrant is someone who has voluntarily left his or her country to live in another. Though many immigrants choose to leave their countries in search of better economic opportunities, economic hardship is not a qualification for refugee status. Immigrants can be legal or illegal.
According to the United Nations, a refugee is someone who, "owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside of his country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country. The refugee does not have a nationality and is living outside the country of his former habitual residence. Due to the fear the refugee is unwilling or unable to return to his/her country. Refugees are a subset in the broader designation of immigrant.
After Arrival in the U.S.
...and many other countries.
The United States has launched a program to resettle tens of thousands of Bhutanese refugees from refugee camps in Nepal, These refugees, almost all ethnic Nepalis from southern Bhutan, have been living in camps in eastern Nepal for more than 19 years . The refugees are unable to return to Bhutan or to settle permanently in Nepal. Of the more than 100,000 refugees in Nepali camps, the United States will consider for resettlement at least 60,000.
The great majority of Bhutanese refugees are descendants of people who in the late 1800’s began immigrating to southern Bhutan – lowland, malarial-infested swamps shunned by the Buddhist majority. Until the 1980’s these people were considered Bhutanese citizens, and were even allowed to hold government. The Bhutanese population (Hindus) grew rapidly until the Buddhist king and his government became concerned. They tried to enforce their culture and religion on the minority Hindus whose civil rights and citizenship were taken away. In 1990 large scale protests led to violent clashes with the police and to mass arrests. In December, 1990 the authorities announced that anyone who could not prove that they had been residents of Bhutan in 1958. Tens of thousands fled to Nepal or to West Bengal, India. Since then many Bhutanese refugees tried to return home, but not a single refugee has been allowed to go back. Local integration in Nepal has not been possible for political reasons. The Nepali government denies the refugees two basic rights: freedom of movement and the right to work and earn a living. The United Nations has concluded that these people are true refugees – they cannot return to Bhutan and they cannot be integrated into Nepali society.
Right now these Bhutanese refugees are one of the two biggest groups coming to Tucson.
In 2006 huge numbers of Iraqi civilians finally decided to flee to safety, flooding into Jordan and Syria. An estimated 700,000 Iraqis cling to a tough existence in each country. Still others escaped to Egypt, Lebanon or Turkey, while another 1.7 million were displaced inside war-torn Iraq. The refugees inside Jordan and Iraq are not allowed to work. They also are not allowed access to health care, education nor other public services. They are living in very small apartments without many household goods or staying underground.
There were many protests against America's failure to offer itself as a refuge for Iraqis who, thanks in large part to the American-led intervention, had lost everything except their lives. In February of 2007, after accepting only 202 Iraqi refugees in the previous year, the Bush Administration announced it would admit and resettle 7,000 Iraqis, which the UN called only "a small step in the right direction." The first Iraqi families came to Tucson two years ago.
If there were only 100 people in the world: