Imagine fleeing your home country afraid that if you don’t get out, you will be killed. You are targeted because of something that you really can’t change or shouldn’t have to change, like your political beliefs, your membership in a specific social group or your sexual orientation. Imagine finally getting out and finding your way to Lancaster. You even make it through the difficult asylum process and are given a green card. You are living happily in a safe, new home, but you notice that your neighbors and community members are suspicious of you. Unfortunately, this is a phenomenon that many asylum seekers experience when trying to settle in the United States.
It seems that these feelings are somewhat caused by the media. American and Western media play a role in painting asylum seekers and immigrants as others. With regard to refugees and asylum seekers, the media makes them out to be liars.
According to a recent study by Western University, news media has been creating a “crisis mentality” among media consumers with regard to immigrants and asylum seekers. The image they portray is that of groups of people trying to invade (and likely destabilize) the United States. This type of image certainly does not make the transition to a new country any easier for asylum seekers.
In order to be eligible for asylum, applicants must have a real and credible fear of persecution because of largely immutable characteristics. Many not only fear persecution, they have already felt it and their governments have done nothing about it. At times, they were the ones who actually did the persecution.
Source: Hispanically Speaking News, “STUDY: Media Plays Role in Dehumanizing Immigrants and Refugees,” Sept. 23, 2013