Important members of their communities
Refugees, immigrants and migrants are important members of their communities. They are neighbors and friends, business owners and entrepreneurs, parents and grandparents, artists and musicians. They care for the sick and the elderly, bring food to stores, educate children and pursue their own education. Without refugees, immigrants and migrants, our communities would not thrive as they are today.
A diversity of experiences
According to recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 40 million people living in the United States were born in another country. This population is incredibly diverse representing many cultures, languages, regions of the world, as well as motivations for migration to the United States. Some come here permanently and others come for short-term or seasonal work or for an education. Others arrive through formal programs such as the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program or as asylum-seekers.
Some communities are well established in the United States while others are still very new to the country. Communities represent a wide range of socioeconomic statuses, educational attainment, English proficiency levels, and occupations, and face differential barriers to public health and health care services.
Despite their challenges, refugees, immigrants, and migrants are an integral part of the nation’s social, cultural, and economic vitality. They have proven that they are strong, resilient and dedicated to the success of the communities where they live during this unprecedented time. With the right tools, we can eliminate the health disparities they face.
Effects of health inequities
The COVID-19 pandemic made clear the structural inequities that can prevent some refugee, immigrant and migrant communities from receiving the healthcare services they need and deserve.
RIM communities are disproportionately affected by health inequities not because of any biological or genetic factor, but because of long-standing systemic, health, and social inequities.
Despite these barriers, RIM communities also have incredible strengths:
- Strong sense of community and dedication to family
- Language talents
- Multi-generational households
- Trusted messengers
These strengths allow RIM communities to overcome health inequities and influence systems to serve them better.