Ethiopian Immigrants to Seattle Face Challenges

August 10, 2015 4:40 am
by David Jakeman

What do immigrants expect to find when they come to the United States? Well, if you talk to some immigrants from Ethiopia, they expect to be quickly incorporated into the global economic powerhouse’s riches, and it can be devastating when the reality is much harsher and more difficult. Some recent Ethiopian immigrants to Seattle have found it so difficult that they have taken their own lives.

Immigrants from Ethiopia

One Ethiopian immigrant who has lived in Seattle for some time now says that he has met many other Ethiopian immigrants coming to Seattle as refugees. Unfortunately, they find that life in the United States is not what they expected and then end their own lives. The Ethiopians are allowed into the country through a Diversity Visa Lottery, and many end up in Seattle, which has an estimated 10,000 Ethiopian immigrants in the area.

The Seattle Ethiopian immigrant tells of many Ethiopian immigrants who have sold their houses and all their possessions to come to the United States, only to find life to be very stressful, especially when there are difficulties with the language. One Seattle caseworker who works with the Ethiopian community in Seattle tells of a family of seven people who arrived in Seattle, only to quickly find themselves homeless.

The caseworker had actually come to Seattle from Ethiopia several years ago and has worked for much of that time helping immigrants from the Horn of Africa get settled in the Seattle area. This family that had found itself homeless had believed that things would fall together quickly in their new home, having sold their home in Ethiopia to make things work. The caseworker helped the family get in touch with family housing resources and get their children into school the following day.1

Immigration Law Firm Help

Seattle immigration lawyers also provide important services for immigrants arriving in the Seattle area. Lawyers can help immigrants make sure all their papers are in order and that they make the smartest decisions for themselves and their families. Lawyers also often have a lot of experience recognizing when immigrants feel out of sorts and may need extra help.
Coming to a new country is always full of interesting surprises, some good and some bad. Culture shock is almost a universal feeling. For some it lasts for a few weeks; others take years trying to find a foothold in a new place.

For Ethiopian immigrants coming to Seattle, immigration lawyers are often one of the first people they meet in the new country. Of course it’s always helpful if someone can speak your native language. It’s even more important to find someone who can professionally and carefully prepare your immigration applications to make sure you and your family put your best case forward. Hopefully Ethiopians will continue to find Seattle to be a welcoming place for immigrants looking for new opportunities, and hopefully they can continue to find good resources that will help them make the transition.


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