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The five greatest challenges facing refugees from Burma

The language: A majority of the refugees do not speak English well – and years after their arrival, many still struggle with the language. This limits their job opportunities and causes complications with everything from medical care to dealings with the police.

Child-rearing: Many refugees note that corporal punishment – which is part of their culture – is legal in Asia. But there are strict limits on corporal punishment in the United States, and many refugee parents say they struggle to control their children as a result.

The culture: Many refugees keep to their own ethnic communities, just because American culture seems so alien to them. Many build their social lives around their families and their own ethnic churches.

Scams: Refugees interviewed for this series have fallen prey to an array of fraudulent schemes, ranging from telephone threats to door-to-door offers of “cheaper electricity” to get-rich-quick schemes that are really identity theft in disguise.

The distance back home: Refugees cannot return to visit family in Burma until they become U.S. citizens, and that can’t happen until they have been in America for five years. That means many refugees miss their homeland and have no way to visit.

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