On June 20, the World Refugee Day is observed all around the world. The day is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.
On this day, the U.S. recognizes the plight of those forced by persecution and war to flee their home countries. The U.S. also recognizes the pressing challenges posed by ongoing refugee crises around the world. Today, nearly 66 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes – more than at any time since the end of the Second World War. Given the historic scale of the global displacement crisis, it is more important than ever for the international community to keep looking for ways to address these crises and respond in an effective, efficient, and comprehensive way.
This year in May a special International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the U.S. Department of State‘s premier professional exchange program, on “Regional Response to Refugee and Migration Issues” for European countries was held and Ms. Evelina Gudžinskaitė, director of Migration Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, was invited to take part in it.
Here are some of her impressions from the U.S. and what lessons she would like to implement in Lithuania:
“My department is not mandated to carry out immigrants’ integration measures, but I’ve always considered that integration is a very important part of a (successful) immigration policy. Learning about various projects and ways to integrate migrants in the U.S. gave me the understanding that even in carrying out direct functions of migration management, my department can add some extra things that will contribute to the integration of migrants. I am considering introducing some things like:
– more active information provision to immigrants (about their employment rights, possibilities to learn Lithuanian language, etc.);
– making employees of the Migration Department more sensitive to cultural differences of migrants (due to origin, sexual orientation or education), indications to possible domestic violence, human trafficking, labor exploitation;
Speaking of my personal development and attitude towards work, I am bringing back two very powerful ideas:
– rule of law. Everyone just follows and obeys the law, even if it is bad or stupid. This seems natural, but I was impressed by the power and depth of this idea in the U.S.
– “you take a bribe, you go to jail” (a simple corruption prevention rule from ICE).”