Over 50 million migrants now live and work in the United States. Figures compiled by Migration Data Portal show that this number is only increasing. Many of these migrants arrive as family units or, if not, start to settle down in the USA and make real ties to the country. Unfortunately, migrant families are not always supported to the fullest extent, as the recent reversal of a policy regarding the detention of pregnant women and children has shown. Americans can, and should, do more to support migrant families arriving and settling in the USA - and there are a number of ways to easily achieve this.
Migrants are not always provided with the same application of human rights as families already in-place across the USA do. This can be hugely detrimental. As immigration law experts Farmer Law PC assert, the American immigration system can be very confusing and opaque to navigate. Access to legal services helps migrants to counter this issue and ensure they are on a proper legal footing. The American Friends Service Committee noted how Trump-era policies restricted access to legal assistance for many migrant families. The majority of the 500,000 asylum seekers currently held on the US-Mexico border are experiencing this phenomenon right now, and changes have not been implemented universally. Providing proper access to good quality legal help is a crucial first step.
While the perception that immigrants are illiterate or poorly-educated is an unfair one, according to research conducted by the Literacy Foundation, it is a fact that many migrants do not have English skills up to the level required to navigate the intricacies of modern society. This is especially true as more services become digitized, and families are left without the technology or means to do this. Communities must be encouraged to provide one-on-one support to migrants to help them obtain the skills they need and to function within society at all levels.
As a country, the USA can do two things to help migrants gain a sense of security. The first concerns in-country changes. More must be done to help migrants feel welcome in existing communities, and especially families involving single mothers - often, these women are vulnerable and need greater levels of community protection and interest. Secondly, the country must do more abroad to ensure that origin countries for migrants are more hospitable and safe places. As the Brookings Institute outlines, there is a moral imperative for improving the quality of life in countries outside of the USA. Citizens can, and should, lobby their representatives to help more to be done, while still providing the classic American welcome that these people deserve.
Whether asylum seekers or migrating for work, immigrant families are stepping into an uncertain time of their life. Across the USA, more can be done to help them feel welcome. This will improve communities across the country and build a better future for all.
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