CNN op-ed: How refugees help their new communities

“Refugee” is a loaded word. It conjures up images of traumatized people living in crowded camps and inevitably leads to major rifts in national politics. The current debate centers on “Will refugees be allowed in our country?” But this short-term focus often obfuscates a more fundamental one — “What happens to refugees once they arrive in communities and become, simply, our neighbors?”

While much has been written about strengthening borders and toughening immigration law, relatively little attention has been paid to the local acceptance of refugees and the ways in which they are successfully incorporated into their new communities.

Once integrated, though, refugees help communities grow economically, creating new businesses and professional opportunities. They also enhance social and civic participation, taking more active roles in local politics and governance.

Read more on CNN