As European countries accommodate citizens from war-torn areas, debates arise on the distinction between a refugee and migrant. As per the 1951 Refugee Convention, refugees have a right to fundamental freedoms as provided for by the international law. The law prohibits immediate deportation of refugees. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/
The UN definition of a refugee os an individual forced to flee due to conflicts, and fear of persecution based on race, nationality, political opinion, and religion. Asylum seeking dates back to 3500 years ago. A migrant is a person who resettles in another country by choice and is in search of a better life or opportunities. Unlike refugees, migrants are liable to the host country’s immigration laws.
All refugees can be migrants, but not all migrants can be refugees. Someone fleeing poverty is ca migrant rather than a refugee. The distinguishing factor between the two is that migrants choose to escape conditions that they could otherwise survive while refugees face life-threatening conditions such as physical injuries, imprisonment, and war.
In the case of refugees moving to foreign countries is the only available option to save their lives and assure basic rights. Refugees lack protection from the home government and risk death or an intolerable life at home. The people fleeing Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Eritrea to Europe fall in both categories even though most of them are migrants.
Several organizations dedicate their resources and time fighting for equal rights for migrants. The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund founded by media executives Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin is a nonprofit initiative seeking to benefit the Hispanic Community in Arizona that suffers racial profiling and civil rights abuses.
Mike and Jim actively voiced concerns on the injustices perpetrated in Arizona by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office. In an article that led to their arrest, the Mike and Jim addressed the state of the jails, mistreatment and deaths, illegal detentions of Latinos and abuse of power.
Mike and Jim used the 3.7 million settlement fee from Maricopa County after being detained illegally. The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund approaches advocacy of civil and human rights through partnerships, publications, and other community-based initiatives. Currently, the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund supports over twenty organizations including the Young Center, Puente, and Justice that works.
The Young Center is an organization that advocates for the rights of at-risk immigrant children. The primary objective of the Young Center is to enhance immigration systems to ensure that participants in children deportation cases acknowledge their unique rights. Also, the human rights group enable the children to access legal counsel. The children escape violence, are victims of trafficking, or escape poverty and hardships. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Michael Lacey | Twitter
The Young Center also helps them transition and adapt to the new environments. The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, a human rights group, provides free legal services to detained immigrants including unaccompanied immigrant children. The detainees also receive social services that cater for the mentally ill, domestic violence victims, critically sick and torture survivors.
Regardless of one’s status, basic rights should be an entitlement. Apart from the lobby groups, all citizens can play a part in ensuring that everyone receives equal rights.