Experts Available: Refugees seek citizenship and community

As state and federal lawyers argue over President Donald Trump’s travel and refugee ban, Winston-Salem is already home to approximately 300 families who have left their country in hopes of earning U.S. citizenship.

Alessandra Von Burg

Communication professor Alessandra Von Burg teaches a class in citizenship and has been working with migrants, refugees, and other “noncitizens” for 10 years in North Carolina. Last summer, she traveled to refugee camps in Italy and Greece to study the educational and professional background of refugees and how their knowledge and skill sets matched with the economies of their destinations.

Von Burg can discuss:

  • stereotypes and misrepresentations of refugees as threats or economic burdens.
  • the vetting process required of individuals hoping to come to the United States.
  • local and regional resources available to help refugees with resettlement.

Von Burg and Lauren Formica, Global Programs coordinator in Wake Forest’s Center for Global Programs and Studies, recently published “Hoping for Hospitality” a guest column about their experiences interviewing refugees waiting to come to the U.S. Formica traveled with Von Burg to the refugee camps in Italy and Greece.

Von Burg was recently featured in a Live Science story highlighting her research at refugee camps, “Tragic Suicide Case Highlights Mental Health Needs of Refugees.”

Hana Brown

Sociology professor Hana Brown is an expert in refugee resettlement and immigrant incorporation. Brown’s research looks at how the various resettlement and social welfare benefits refugees receive affect their views and expectations of their host government.

Brown can discuss:

  • how immigration policies can make it more or less likely that refugees integrate into U.S. society.
  • how the additional benefits and supports refugees receive, that other immigrants do not, translate into higher levels of integration
  • how successful cultural integration doesn’t just happen as a choice that new immigrants make — policies matter.

Categories: Faculty

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