Date of Graduation

Spring 5-26-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

International Studies

First Advisor

Lindsay Gifford

Second Advisor

James Zarsadiaz

Abstract

For many refugees, the day they flee their home country is the start of the interruption of their life. For refugees, such interruption brings the absence of continuity and loss of vision for the future, that they have to be present in the current situation – not knowing their future. This interruption literally 'interrupts' the life plan of refugees. Many Eritrean refugees vocally state that, "Our body might be here, but our soul is all in Eritrea". Eritrean refugees, having fled an oppressive regime, continue to experience nonstop interruption to their lives in their new country. Due to both the continuing repression in Eritrea which is why they fled, and because of the strong family, cultural and religious values Eritreans grow up, Eritreans in the diaspora feel obliged to save lives and remit funds to sustain the family back in their home country. The research found that this burden of helping not only slows their integration into their new countries, but also leads to stress, compassion fatigue and trauma in the Eritrean diaspora community in the Bay Area. In light of this, the research suggests that refugee resettlement agencies give rigorous orientation teaching refugees/asylees to first take care of oneself, achieving the necessary life empowerment and to work with community centers and religious institutions to understand their needs and expedite their integration. Once having created a strong foundation for themselves, then they can help family members. The research also calls on the Eritrean government to end the indefinite national service and Eritreans to work together to bring about positive change. It is also recommended that USCIS officials, while considering asylum cases, to consider the family as well. Finally, it recommends the UN pressure the Eritrean government to uphold human rights and rule of law and thus stemming migration out of Eritrea and its ultimate consequences on those living abroad.

Available for download on Friday, June 12, 2020

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