What exactly is asylum? How is an asylum seeker different from a refugee or others forced to flee their homes? If someone wants asylum in the U.S., what do they have to do?
If you’re not sure you could answer those questions, you are not alone. But you may want to take some steps to deepen your understanding and engage with these issues.
Here are some resources that explain what asylum is, what distinguishes asylum seekers from refugees and other newcomers, and what people seeking safety go through to resettle in the United States:
- A good starting point is this short video that illustrates the difference between asylum seekers and refugees.
- If you prefer to read, this “explainer” on asylum by Astrid Galván provides an accessible overview.
- Ready to dig deeper? For more details on the challenges that asylum seekers face in the U.S. today, check out this recent piece by Stephanie Whiteside.
- To deepen your understanding of the different legal statuses that newcomers may have as they engage with the U.S. immigration system, watch this video produced by EMM and the Episcopal Church’s Office of Governmental Relations.
- If a more experiential and spiritual perspective on forced migration appeals to you, we highly recommend this virtual “Stations of the Cross” featuring the artwork of Michelina Nicotera-Taxiera. It may help you envision both the journey of asylum seekers and faithful ways to support them.
Eager to engage in hands-on support for asylum seekers, refugees and other newcomers? EMM invites you to take a next step:
- Join the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program to accompany asylum seekers or other newcomers in your community.
- Participate in the Rainbow Initiative to raise awareness and advocate for LGBTQ+ forced migrants and the unique challenges they face.
- Take the “Ways to Welcome” assessment to find the best match for your gifts, interests, and circumstances.
There is much to learn and much to be done, but every step counts! Join EMM as we welcome refugees and asylum seekers, educate communities, and engage groups and individuals in advocating for the protection and rights of all migrants.