Home Immigration Lawyer Migrants? Refugees? Let’s Get the Terminology Right

Migrants? Refugees? Let’s Get the Terminology Right


Today’s immigration debate has undoubtedly turn into America’s hot-button political problem. As activists, politicians, and immigration specialists (together with attorneys) debate who’s/isn’t eligible to stay legally within the United States, a serious downside goes unaddressed: appropriate terminology. We typically hear phrases like, “migrant”, “refugee”, and “asylum seeker” getting used interchangeably. However, these phrases carry very completely different technical and authorized meanings and are usually not interchangeable irrespective of how related they sound.

So what’s the distinction between a migrant and a refugee and why does it matter? Current U.S. immigration regulation may enable overseas nationals within the United States as refugees if they’re fleeing from political, spiritual, or ethnic persecution of their residence nation (they might additionally nonetheless search refugee standing and never cross any borders, too). A refugee, not like an asylum seeker, is set on meet the necessities of somebody who’s persecuted earlier than arriving in our nation, whereas an asylum seeker is somebody who arrives right here first after which asks to be allowed to stay within the nation for a well-founded concern of persecution on account of race, faith, nationality, membership in a specific social group, or political opinion. In different phrases, there are very particular grounds on which an individual overseas can qualify as a refugee – or one other to say “asylum” as soon as they’re right here within the United States. This could be very completely different from a ‘migrant’ for one key motive – the involuntary resettlement of an individual.

A ‘migrant’ is an off-the-cuff and unskilled employee who maneuvers about systematically from one area to a different providing their providers on a brief, normally seasonal, foundation. Migrants may also be high-skilled staff who’re introduced in by visas to fill sure work roles and positions. Migrants primarily relocate for financial causes and to enhance their high quality of life. Most importantly, they’re voluntary. The major variations between a ‘refugee’ and a ‘migrant’ is that whereas one is fleeing persecution, the opposite is shifting to enhance his/her financial situation.

Overall, appropriate terminology is crucial within the immigration debate. It is the one factor that may actually outline the distinction between somebody who’s residing right here legally or illegally or decide an individual’s motives for relocating right here within the first place. A migrant will not be an asylum seeker and an asylum seeker will not be a migrant. And sure, that makes all of the distinction within the coverage world. We are sometimes so perplexed by the problem at hand, the breaking information, and the activism behind the subject, that the very phrases we’re utilizing will be problematic and contradictive. So simply keep in mind, maintaining immigration terminology straight will provide help to grasp the talk in the long term!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here