Elizabeth works at a non-profit that helps refugees. I wanted to share a specific story she told that I found quite moving.
A Refugee’s Story:
One of my former colleagues was a Bhutanese/Nepali refugee, who was kept in jail and tortured for twenty years in a refugee camp. He didn’t have a nation. When he finally came here, he said the first morning he woke up in Buffalo, it was like he saw a new sun.
It took him seven years to earn his citizenship. He said, “Now, I have an identity.” He felt like America offered him dignity, humanity, and a place to call home.
His story made me value my own citizenship on a whole new level. I never considered not having a place to call home. I never thought about not having a country to call my own. In helping refugees, I watched a lot of citizenship ceremonies. Every time, it brought a tear to my eye.
On What Draws Refugees to America Generally:
Freedom for your children to have an education. Refugees want a better education and life for their children. Everyone here wants their children to go to school and do better than the generation before. That’s a pretty universal value, but definitely something refugees want when they come here.