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Moving to another country can feel so lonely. You are surrounded by new places, customs, and, more likely than not, a new language. Even if you arrive with family, you might still feel like a tiny ship stuck in the middle of a vast ocean.
If that sounds like your experience, remember, you are not alone! In 2018, immigrants made up 13.7% of the U.S. population or 44.8 million people. That’s a lot of people experiencing the day-to-day struggles of adapting to a new environment. Even if you are not an immigrant yourself, there’s plenty of ways that you can reach out and help make the transition easier for your fellow immigrant. Let’s explore some below.
Become an Interpreter
The beauty of the United States is that we do not have an official language. Even though English is the most widely spoken language, 66 million U.S. residents speak another language in their households. However, English is still the language of choice for certain government functions, including immigration services. Depending on your ability, you can help other immigrants get through everyday situations by serving as their interpreter.
You can also volunteer your bilingual or multilingual services at organizations like the National Immigrant Justice Center who need interpreters for immigration court cases. Other volunteer opportunities, such as those through the Immigration Justice Campaign, are remote, allowing you to assist immigrants across the country. No certification is required, just fluency in the target language.
A lot of legislation goes through Congress that affects the lives of refugees and immigrants in this country. Representatives draft and vote for new laws and regulations that could affect you, your family, and your friends who are newcomers to this country. But the power to choose these representatives lies in your hands! If you meet the requirements to vote in the U.S., it is vital that you exercise your right to vote and help shape a better world for you and other immigrants.
While citizenship requires at least five years of residency in the U.S., some places are gradually allowing non-U.S. citizens the right to vote in local elections. Though federal elections are still out of reach for non-citizens, local elections can have a similar impact with the laws and regulations they pass that affect residents’ everyday lives. If you are a non-citizen looking to improve your city for your fellow immigrant, contact your local government to see if your city is on the growing list of areas providing more voting rights to immigrants.
Moving to the U.S. requires significant financial resources. Not only must you find housing, but you also need a job to meet the everyday needs of you and your family, including clothing, meals, and transportation. If you were once in their shoes, you probably understand these struggles better than anyone. As evidenced by the outpouring of support following the arrival of Afghan refugees to the United States this past August, donating to an organization that serves immigrants and refugees to this country is often the most direct way to help.
Donating to organizations like the International Rescue Committee (IRC) can be life-saving. Your donation may help bring food and supplies to those in crisis areas or help newly arrived refugees resettle in the U.S. In addition to the IRC, there are many charities that help both immigrants and refugees alike. Take a look at this list to find the ones you can help.
Can’t afford to donate? There are other ways to help. Reach out to your community by hosting a fundraiser campaign or charity event, or collecting donations such as household goods and clothing. The National Immigrant Justice Center allows people to start fundraisers on their website, but you can also seek out other crowdfunding sites, such as gofundme, to raise funds to give to a charity.
Moving to a new country can be scary and lonely. With your help and advocacy, you can make this transition easier for your fellow immigrants and refugees. New to the U.S. and need help adapting to your new country? Golden Beacon USA’s products and services are here to make your transition to your new country as easy as possible! Questions? Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!