Posted by Guest on June 20, 2017 in Blog
The world is currently experiencing the most significant humanitarian catastrophe since World War II. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of forcibly displaced people hit a record 65.3 million in 2015. The sheer numbers of this tragedy mean it is more important than ever to stand up, support, and help refugees.
Arab Americans are a community of refugees and immigrants, and they have a long history of giving back to their community and the nation as a whole. This month, the world observes World Refugee Day, which coincides with Immigrant Heritage Month. AAI recognizes Arab immigrants to the United States and their decedents like Tony Fadell, Mona Yacoubian, and Senator George J. Mitchell, among others. Read more about influential Arab Americans in a thread of blogs, entitled Together We Came.
Some Americans hold misconceptions about refugees and their resettlement in the United States, believing they drain government resources. However, refugees, in fact, pay more money to the government in taxes than they receive in aid. While it is true that refugees, unlike immigrants, may receive welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid, The Washington Post notes, “By the time refugees who entered the U.S. as adults have been here for 20 years, they will have paid, on average, $21,000 more in taxes to all levels of government than they received in benefits over that time span.” Immigrants and refugees also help to boost the economy and create more jobs. 11% of Syrian immigrants own businesses, compared to three percent of U.S. born Americans own businesses. In industries such as retail, construction, and manufacturing, immigrants create, on average, 1.2 jobs, a majority of which go to those born in the U.S. Overall, the impact refugees have on the American economy, government, and culture outweighs any assistance they initially receive.
Annie Riley is a 2017 summer intern at the Arab American Institute.