Refugee Paper - Schwarz Rachel Schwarz GEO 101 A Dr Housel 3 October 2011 Riveting Refugees Marston and Knox define refugees as individuals who

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Schwarz Rachel Schwarz GEO 101 A Dr. Housel 3 October 2011 Riveting Refugees Marston and Knox define refugees as “individuals who cross national boundaries to seek safety and asylum (107). These individuals may travel thousands of miles pursuing improved living standards, increased human rights, and a place to call home that is free from war conflict. The United States in particular has witnessed a swell of refugees and immigrants in the last two decades, as our country has legally admitted over ten million foreign born into our boundaries. Specifically, Russian refugees have immigrated to the United States in the years ranging from 1999 to the present. Soviet Jews in particular have made the lengthy journey from Russia, to Israel, and ultimately to the United States, settling in states such as Oregon, New York, and Cleveland. Soviet Jews emigrated from Russia to Israel because of political reforms in the USSR, because of changes in American immigration policy, and because of growing Anti- Semitism (Siegel 13). Soviet Jews then emigrated from Israel to the United States due to failure of direct absorption for new immigrants in Israel, under par Israeli education programs, and due to a change in American immigration legislation. The Soviet Jews arrived in the United States, the prime destination for economic opportunity, personal freedom, and education. The two key factors for the mass exodus of Russian immigrants from the Soviet Union were Russian political reforms and changes in United States immigration policy (Siegel 13).
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Schwarz Under Gorbachev’s liberal rule, beginning in 1987, direct immigration into Israeli society was permitted. Figure 1: Arrival of Immigrant Population from the Former Soviet Union by Year (in Thousands) As the bar graph illustrates, the bulk of Jewish immigrants arrived in Israel in 1990 and 1991, when Gorbachev’s immigration policies were still fresh. Around 333 thousand Soviet Jews arrived in Israel between these two monumental years (Central Bureau of Statistics and Ministry of Immigrant Absorption). Although many Jews preferred to have immigrated to the United States, the majority of Soviet Jews seized the opportunity to travel to Israel to escape growing Anti-Semitism in their country of origin. Anti-Semitist acts included faulting Jews with the tyrannical Communist regime and with food shortages and economic instability. However, although Soviet Jews were able to escape growing Anti-Semitism and discrimination, emigration from Russia to Israel was rather forced, versus being a matter of free choice. Many Soviet Jews requested admittance into the United States from Israel, which according to the U.S., Israelis, “had asked the United States government to take steps to ensure that the bulk of Russian Jews would find themselves in
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Schwarz Israel” (Siegel 15). It is apparent that granting admission of Soviet Jews into Israel was much less about helping refugees escape intolerance, and more about the Israeli government securing
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This note was uploaded on 10/05/2011 for the course GEO 101 taught by Professor Gillen during the Fall '08 term at Miami University.

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Refugee Paper - Schwarz Rachel Schwarz GEO 101 A Dr Housel 3 October 2011 Riveting Refugees Marston and Knox define refugees as individuals who

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