From Fear to Freedom: Obstacles to Refugee Statue for Central Americans

2015-2016 CG5
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From Fear to Freedom: Obstacles to Refugee Status for Central Americans
By Akshay Chhajed, Fatima Chowdhury, Jeremy Conselyea, Keerthana Sundar, Xiaolei Wang, Riku Ono, Taylor Kost

Abstract

Asylum seekers are those who propose that they are refugees but whose claim to refugee status has not yet been verified by the receiving country. These asylum seekers travel from Central American countries to the United States. They often unwillingly leave their home countries feeling endangered and move north only to face a complicated and long admissions process conducted by arbitrary clerks and consisting of multiple steps in order to get a government certificated status as a refugee and further obstacles afterwards. Here, we decided to critically analyze the historical and current situation they have been facing so far. Based on the research we have completed, we deduced that what awaits Central American refugees even after the admission is legal discrimination, insufficient access to health insurance (as proven by comparatively low rates of insurance and lack of access to medical services), institutional discrimination, and lack of assimilation – mainly because of cultural differences and language barriers, mental health problems such as PTSD, and human trafficking. We argue that the reasons for these consecutive obstacles include the difficulty that the government and citizens of the United States have in distinguishing asylum seekers from normal immigrants. With the implication being that asylum seekers are legally entitled to protection in the United States under the Refugee Convention.

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