Refugees In Minnesota: Where Are They From & How To Help

Mohamed Malim


Imagine not knowing where you will lay your head tonight, or where your next meal will come from. Imagine not even knowing what country you will be in tomorrow. The idea seems far from our reality but these are the questions millions of refugees have to ask themselves. 

Around the world, the refugee crisis is continuing to grow. The number of displaced persons and refugees has grown 8.7 million from 2018 to 2019. If being forced from their homes has not been enough, their search for safety is often met with unsupportive governments, lack of food, shelter, clothing, and a fear of the unknown. 

While the refugee crisis is growing around the world, the countries facing a disproportionate number of refugees are:

These countries do not have enough resources to sustain such a great refugee population. There is very little access to education, camps are overrun, and any funding must go towards essentials like food and water, which is still in limited supply. The biggest hope for refugees in these camps is another country intervening to provide assistance. The chance for refugees to move to a more developed country, gives them the opportunity to change the course of their families lives. The United States is one of those countries who has taken in thousands of refugees. In particular, Minnesota is one of the top states that accept refugees year over year.


A New Life In Minnesota

Minnesota has a long history of accepting immigrants and refugees. In fact although Minnesota only accounts for 2 percent of the US population, they are home to 13 percent of the refugees welcomed into the country. Minnesota has a historically low unemployment rate, a warm welcoming community, affordable housing and an extensive number of social services. Therefore it has been an ideal candidate to support these new refugee migrants.

Where Are Refugees In Minnesota From?

Recently the refugees who have been placed in Minnesota, primarily come from:

  • Ukraine
  • Iraq
  • Burma
  • Somalia
  • Ethiopia

Refugees in Minnesota have built communities for themselves which have attracted more refugees from these countries. As communities grow, refugees open restaurants and various businesses to support their growing communities.

Where Do Refugees In Minnesota Live?

Although refugees settle in many counties across the state, two thirds settle in Ramsey and Hennepin counties. These refugees are eager to work to improve the lives of their families. They help boost the local economy, diversify communities, and pay back their initial settlement costs in taxes over subsequent years. In addition to the greater Twin Cities, MN area, many refugees also settle in Stearns, Olmstead, Kandiyohi & Rice counties among others.

How Can We Help Refugees In Minnesota?

In recent years, there have been many cutbacks to the number of refugees being allowed into the country and the services provided to those who are approved. This makes it even more challenging for refugees to acclimate to their new homes, and become part of the community. There are many ways we can continue to help these refugees build a better future for themselves and their families.

  • Donate to organizations - such as legal services for immigrants. Many non-profit organizations do not have the resources to offer important immigration law services to refugees.
  • Support lobbying organizations -  Lobbying organizations such as MIRAC (Minnesota Immigration Rights Action Committee) fight for the rights of new immigrants and refugees. Their work provides legal counsel to those seeking asylum in the United States as well as additional information on services refugees are entitled to upon arrival.
  • Support companies who give back to refugee communities - One of the simplest ways to support refugees in your community is to make a conscious effort to purchase goods and services from companies who give back to the refugee community. 

Helping Refugees In Minnesota

If you are looking for a way to support refugees, but don’t know where to start, consider purchasing an embracelet, apparel or any other piece of merchandise from Epimonia. Our company gives 50% of all embracelet profit to support refugee support efforts. Not only do we donate a portion of our profits, but we actively involve refugees in the design and manufacturing process. This simple gesture can make a huge difference to a refugee in need.

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