Difference Between Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Refugees on one hand, coming from Congo, Burma, Iraq, Afganistan, Somoli, would flee in massive groups to a neighboring country, where the United Nations had set up a refugee camp. There they would wait for several years. Then, the United Nations would pay for their travel to the U.S. where they would arrive already having permanent refugee status, and would already be eligible for their work permit. They would be met at airport by caseworker and brought to their furnished apartment, and given 6-8 months of resettlement benefits including: food stamps, financial assistance, case management, medicaid, and more, all funded by the government. In other words, there is a well-developed system in place to help refugees land on their feet.
Asylum seekers on the other hand, were usually persecuted individually, and 75% of asylum seekers were personally beaten, raped, or tortured in their country. They are from Ethiopia, Congo, Egypt, China, Pakistan, Central America, Burundi, and elsewhere from all around the word. These were people who (for example) were journalists or political activists, speaking out about the corruption in their current governments, or people who were Christian pastors in countries where radical Islamists reign.
These were people who were in such immediate danger that they had to flee for their lives, often alone in secret, and find a way to get out of the country, however they could, for example, using a visitor visa, or student visa. They arrive at the airport alone, and some have a contact, but others arrive not knowing where to go or what to do next. Then, they must find a way to file paperwork asking for asylum, beginning the legal process in which they must prove that they were truly fleeing for their lives.
They would have been killed if they would have stayed. And now they are going through the legal processes yet asylum seekers in DFW often wait for 2 years or more before they receive their work permit, and during this waiting period they are not eligible for any government services.
How are they supposed to survive? This is why some of these educated, hard-working, courageous victims of injustice, who came here for safety, end up here on our streets.