Jane E. Haskell and Ashley Storrow
Since 1990 Maine, like most areas of the United States, has seen an increase in primary and secondary refugees locating in our communities. According to Welcoming America, this decade’s number of immigrants to the U.S. is unmatched since the early 1900’s. Catholic Charities Maine reports that every year more than 250 primary refugees, 200 asylum seekers, and other immigrant groups arrive in Maine from war torn counties. Immigrants arrive with aspirations to be self sufficient and active members of the community; however, many factors including cultural differences contribute to a climate that is ripe for misunderstanding. This white paper presents findings from a 2013-2014 research project exploring how to strengthen a community’s capacity for cross- cultural conversations with newly-arrived refugees in Portland, Maine.