Facts about immigrants and refugees can be found on this page in addition to information on where to access resources and to provide the necessary support to newcomer families so that they’re able to thrive in the community, including volunteer & donation opportunities and grant opportunities. 

Facts About Immigrants and Refugees

Who is considered an immigrant or a refugee?

An immigrant is a person who chooses to permanently move to a new country. A refugee is a person who is forced to flee their home country due to persecution, war, or violence.

What is the difference between an immigrant and a refugee?

An immigrant is someone who chooses to move to another country for various reasons, such as work, education, or family reunification. A refugee, on the other hand, is someone who is forced to flee their home country due to persecution, war, or violence and seeks asylum in another country.

Why do people immigrate to the United States?

People immigrate to the United States for various reasons, including economic opportunities, better living conditions, and family reunification.

What are some of the challenges that immigrants and refugees face?

Immigrants and refugees face a range of challenges when settling into a new country, including language barriers, cultural differences, discrimination, and lack of access to services. They may also face challenges in finding employment, securing housing, and accessing education and healthcare.

How can I support immigrants and refugees in my community?

You can support immigrants and refugees in your community by volunteering with local organizations that provide support services such as language classes, job training, and healthcare assistance. You can also donate to organizations that assist immigrants and refugees, advocate for policies that support immigrant and refugee rights, and learn about their experiences to dispel myths and misinformation. Finally, you can also offer friendship and support to individuals and families in your community who are newcomers.

Are refugees allowed to work in the United States?

Yes, refugees are allowed to work in the United States. They are eligible for work authorization and can obtain a Social Security number.

Can refugees bring their families with them to the United States?

Yes, refugees can apply to bring their immediate family members to the United States. However, the process can be lengthy and difficult.

How can I learn more about the experiences of immigrants and refugees?

You can learn more about the experiences of immigrants and refugees by attending community events, volunteering with local organizations, and reading books or watching films that explore their experiences.

How can I support policies that protect the rights of immigrants and refugees?

You can support policies that protect the rights of immigrants and refugees by contacting your elected officials, joining advocacy groups, and participating in protests and rallies.

How do refugees get resettled in a new country?

Refugees are resettled in a new country through the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the host country’s government. The UNHCR refers refugees to countries that have agreed to accept them for resettlement, and the host country’s government provides housing, healthcare, language assistance, and other necessary services to help them settle into their new home.

Do refugees receive financial assistance when they arrive in a new country?

Yes, refugees receive financial assistance in the form of resettlement allowances, which are designed to help cover initial expenses such as housing, food, and clothing. Additionally, refugees may be eligible for other forms of financial assistance such as medical and educational support.

Are immigrants and refugees a burden on the economy?

No, immigrants and refugees are not a burden on the economy. In fact, studies have shown that immigrants and refugees contribute to the economy through job creation, entrepreneurship, and increased consumer spending. Additionally, they often fill critical gaps in the workforce and bring diverse skills and experiences that benefit the economy as a whole. Immigrants and refugees bring diverse skills, perspectives, and experiences to the workforce, which can lead to innovation and economic growth. They also contribute to the economy by paying taxes, starting businesses, and creating jobs.

Are immigrants and refugees a threat to national security?

No, immigrants and refugees are not a threat to national security. In fact, studies have shown that immigrants and refugees are less likely to commit crimes than native-born individuals. Refugees undergo a rigorous screening process before they are resettled in a new country, which includes background checks and interviews with government officials. Refugees are also subject to continuous monitoring and surveillance after they arrive in their host country.

Can refugees return to their home country once they have been resettled in a new country?

It depends on the circumstances. Refugees are often unable to return to their home country due to ongoing conflicts or persecution. However, in some cases, refugees may choose to return to their home country once it is safe to do so or if they have been granted permission to visit by their host country’s government.

What is asylum?

Asylum is a legal status granted to individuals who have fled their home country and cannot return due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Asylum seekers must apply for asylum in the country where they seek protection.

What is the Federal Poverty Level?

Learn More

Afghan Health Leadership Consortium (Afghan Coalition)
The Afghan Health Leadership Consortium is a program of the Afghan Coalition in Fremont. The health topics discussed are unique to the Afghan Community and are focused to service providers, educators and community leaders. After the crisis in Afghanistan, the focus of the Consortium has been on issues relating to the needs and problems of the new arrivals and solutions that address those special needs.
Afghanistan Cultural Quick Reference Guide
This new two-page Cultural Quick Reference Guide for Afghanistan supports the provider-client relationship by giving country-specific information on cultural norms, health practices, and courtesies to observe to enhance communication.
African Communities Program (Partnerships for Trauma Recovery)
African Communities Program addresses the psychosocial impacts of trauma among international survivors of human rights abuses through culturally aware, trauma-informed, and linguistically accessible mental health care, outreach, professional training, and policy advocacy.
Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation
Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) raises awareness of the experience of Immigration into America through the Pacific. AIISF collects and preserves the rich stories and personal journeys of thousands of immigrants, and shares them with visitors and everyone living in America through education initiatives and public programs. Angel Island Immigration Station reminds us of the complicated history of immigration in America. It serves as a symbol of our willingness to learn from our past to ensure that our nation keeps its promise of liberty and freedom.
Service Area
Bay Area
Asian Resource Network (Diversity in Health Training Institute)
Asian Resource Network connects Bay Area families in need with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) service providers.
At Home Humanitarian
Listing Title
At Home Humanitarian is a grassroots effort focused on socially integrating refugees, asylees, and immigrants while building tolerance and understanding throughout their new communities. Our core work focuses on mentor matching, community acculturation events, and providing extracurricular opportunities. Mentorships, outings, and scholarships.
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) educates and engages African American and black immigrant communities to organize and advocate for racial, social and economic justice. At the local and regional level, BAJI provides training and technical assistance to partner organizations to develop leadership skills, works with faith communities to harness their prophetic voice, and initiates vibrant dialogues with African Americans and black immigrants to discover more about race, our diverse identities, racism, migration and globalization.
Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS)
Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) aims to strengthen the capacity of refugee-serving and mainstream organizations across the U.S. to empower and ensure the successful development of refugee children, youth, and their families.
Building Skills Partnership
Building Skills Partnership (BSP) improves the lives of property service workers in low-wage industries and their families. Property service workers are janitors, security officers, maintenance and custodial workers, stadium, arena and airport workers, and other workers who provide important services to the buildings of California. BSP programs serve 5,500 participants annually through direct services and training, and 20,000 individuals through hybrid outreach engagements & online services. Programs focus on workforce development, immigrant inclusion, and community advancement. The organization offers career and education programs that enable workers’ personal and professional success.
Burma Refugee Families & Newcomers
Burma Refugee Families & Newcomers (BRFN) supports and empowers refugees of all ethnic groups from Burma and other countries resettling in the wider San Francisco Bay Area. BRFN provides and advocates for culturally and linguistically appropriate social support services, such as language training, social welfare, education, physical and mental healthcare, employment, housing, and cultural bridging and preservation.
California Grants Portal
California State Library has compiled all state grants in the California Grants Portal as a one-stop destination for the community, nonprofit leaders, and public agencies to learn about grant guidelines, eligibility, and additional important information to apply.
Church World Service
Listing Title
Church World Service (CWS) serves refugees, immigrants, and asylees in Northern California. CWS’s office in Walnut Creek will help refugees resettle, form long-lasting relationships in the community and maintain their own basic needs in a sustainable lifestyle. CWS NorCal operates several programs to serve unaccompanied children who mostly come through the southern border, and refugees, immigrants, and asylees families and individuals.
East Bay Refugee and Immigrant Forum (EBRIF)  
The East Bay Refugee and Immigrant Forum (EBRIF) is a coalition of over 30 community-based organizations and agencies serving refugees, asylees, and immigrants in the San Francisco East Bay.
Service Area
East Bay
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Renting to Refugees and Eligible Newcomers
The U.S. Government assists refugees and other eligible newcomers with resettlement support services as they begin to
rebuild their lives in the United States. This FAQ answers questions that landlords and property managers may have
about renting to refugees and other eligible newcomers.
Service Area
How to Get Medical and Education Services When You Don’t Speak English
What families who speak a language other than English need to know about their rights when accessing health care and special education services, and tips on how to advocate for themselves.
Service Area
International Rescue Committee – Oakland
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Oakland's programs are designed to ensure that you, as a refugee, thrive in America--whether ensuring your children are enrolled in school, you as an adult is become self-reliant through employment or starting businesses, or families are receiving acute medical care you need to recover from trauma or illness. If you are in need, the IRC will help you to rebuild your life and regain control of your future in your new home community.
Service Area
East Bay
International Rescue Committee – San Jose
The International Rescue Committee provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America.
Service Area
Santa Clara County
Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay
Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay (JFCS East Bay) is a community-based, direct social and human services organization that serves and supports Alameda and Contra Costa County residents of all ages, races, and religions.
Service Area
East Bay
Jewish Family Services Silicon Valley
JFS SV provides resettlement, vocational and career services to 400+ refugees annually, most recently serving refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Service Area
Bay Area
Migration Data Hub – Migration Policy Institute
The Data Hub showcases stock, flow, citizenship, net migration, and historical data for countries around the world, as well as national and state-level demographic, social, and economic facts about immigrants and immigration to the United States.
Service Area
Refugee Housing Solutions
Provides technical housing support to resettlement practitioners, landlords and property managers, refugees, and volunteers across the United States and partners with them to develop and implement cohesive strategies to increase the availability and affordability of housing.
Service Area
The 5ive Pillars
Listing Title
An Afghan-American-led organization that aids in the resettlement of newcomer migrants in Northern California.
Service Area
Northern California
Legal Finders
A complete guide to the legal rights of non-citizens in the U.S., as well as a list of rights non-citizens can’t access, and a number of legal resources for non-citizens.
Service Area
United Afghan Association
Aims to support and amplify the voices of the people of Afghanistan and to help better serve Afghan refugees resettling in northern California.
Service Area
East Bay
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