The Foundation for Modern youth and Civic Participation developed this page with the purpose to clarify the currently misused terminology relevant to immigration and the global refugee crisis, as well as to provide background on the necessity of social integration and effective US border control.

There is considerable confusion when issues on immigration and asylum seekers applying for refugee status are debated. Terminology is misused, hence misleading historical references and mixed comparisons are made by professionals, the media, news organizations and social media activists. The first step in intelligent communication is to be on the same page on terminology, so misunderstandings caused by ignorance and miscommunication are eliminated.


What is the difference between IMMIGRANTS, EMIGRANTS, MIGRANTS and REFUGEES vs ASYLUM SEEKERS?  Why is the effective CONTROL OF BORDERS crucial for national security and why is SOCIAL AND CULTURAL INTEGRATION important for political and economic stability?



A MIGRANT is a person who moves from place to place temporarily, with the intention to leave after their temporary commitment is complete. Migration is usually motivated by life-economic factors or labor, such as for seasonal farm work. Related example; migration of birds seeking temporary weather relief and food.



An EMIGRANT is a person who left their country.  Example; He emigrated from Italy, and Immigrated to the Unites States.  An American Immigrant and an Italian Emigrant.



An IMMIGRANT is a person who comes to a foreign country with the goal to permanently live there. Immigrants usually come from a settled community on their own and have appropriate papers and documents.  They cooperate with the host nation to be vetted. They supply all paperwork and meet requirements pertaining to security, economic, political, religious and medical questions.  

The IMMIGRATION is the process by which immigrants can enter and obtain permanent residency in a country.  Immigration is usually governed by each country’s immigration laws and policies without interference from other states or international agreements.




An ASYLUM SEEKER is a person who is seeking shelter and protection in another country, usually applying for refugee status.


A REFUGEE is a person who has been granted refugee status, thus qualifying their claim for asylum. Unlike immigrants, refugees are displaced people who have been uprooted from their homes, their families and have previously requested asylum for protection to ensure their and their families' safety and well-being.  Refugees may not have the necessary papers and vetting documents, usually caused by the destruction of their environment.  As a result, it is much more difficult to figure out the true identity of the person and if they pose an actual threat. The 2015 EU refugee crisis can be viewed as an example when fake documents were used by refugees to establish identities.


A refugee status is not a permanent residency or citizenship status. It is a temporary status granting the asylum seeker protection based on a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of origin, because of their race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.  It is also a requirement for refugee status that their country of origin is unable or unwilling to protect them, nor there is any part of the country in which they can be safe.

Unlike immigration policy which is solely defined by sovereign states, REFUGEE POLICY is also governed by UN 1951 Refugee Convention and is monitored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).




The primary duty of any government is to protect the safety of its own citizens.  Therefore, the protection of US borders is the government's highest priority. The government must use every tool at its disposal to facilitate the effective control of borders and border crossings to ensure national security and to protect against human trafficking, contraband, and against terrorist threats.


The increase of global population, poverty, extreme weather and military strife have contributed to a continually increasing global migration. The start of the global migration crisis could be seen in 2015 in the European Union, as well as the failing integration efforts dealing with masses of immigrants establishing parallel societies.


The United States does not have unlimited resources to accommodate the continually increasing demand on its immigration threshold and refugee protection. Our empathy for global suffering should be in balance with up-to-date, pragmatic solutions which are sustainable and are developed based on common sense. 


In the midst of continued global destabilization, the US must reform its current and develop decisive new policies on asylum, immigration and integration.






The concept of integration is often misplaced with assimilation.  A successful integration includes the willingness to change and the willingness to welcome and accept.  A one-sided integration is a precursor for cultural, social and religious conflict. While accepting social, cultural and religious differences, we must make clear, that the establishment of parallel societies which place themselves above the US legal and social norms are not acceptable. Religious and cultural diversity must be achieved through effective integration in parallel with the protection of our national heritage, cultural traditions and American patriotism.


Segmentation vs Segregation

Large groups of people (immigrants, refugees) have natural tendencies to establish parallel societies based on shared cultural, religious and language similarities.  Therefore, integration strategies must focus on segmentation vs. segregation.


Social and Cultural Respect

Integration of immigrants starts with the basic understanding of mutual respect and adjustment.  The lack of respect towards an individual or a social, religious group will stop integration efforts.


Shared basic values, social norms

Social unity based on common core values, principles and common goals is a key element in any society.  Any people or group which cannot identify and accept these basic principles will be considered as a threat to social unity, polarize society and will be the object of social conflict.  


Law & Order

The host country's laws and the social norms on which those laws are built must be observed, respected and obeyed.  Any attempts to exclude individuals or groups from these laws or request for special treatment will have and adverse anti-integration effect.





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