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Refugee and Newcomer Supports

Refugee newcomer asylum-seeker immigrant SLIFE

Support staff smiling at camera.

Who are "newcomers"?

Newcomers to APS refers to students who are new to the U.S. and come from a non-English speaking country. Newcomers are often refugees, asylum-seekers, or are under other immigration statuses.

Who are refugees and asylum seekers?

Refugees are people who are forced to leave their country because they have a well-founded fear of persecution. Often times it is due to their race, ethnicity, religion or other groups they are a part of. Most people who flee their homes end up in another part of the their country and are called "internally displaced persons" but many flee to other countries and are called "refugees". After arriving in a nearby country, they have to apply for refugee status and prove that they have a "well-founded fear of persecution". Less than 1% of refugees are resettled in a third country such as the U.S., Germany or Australia.

Asylum-seekers are people seeking refugee status but have not completed the interview process to prove that they have a "well-founded fear of persecution".

To learn more about the refugee screening process, click here.

Why does APS have a department specific for newcomers and refugees?

Newcomer and refugee students have different strengths and needs than typical students. For instance, most refugee students do not speak English but do speak multiple other languages. Some students speak 4 or more languages and it is common for a classroom of refugees to speak about 15 languages combined. It is important to build upon these strengths in addition to helping them learn English and all other subject areas. 

Trauma: Many refugee/newcomer students have witnessed bombings, kidnappings, loss of family members, family separation and more. The Refugee & Newcomer Supports Program provides support to students, families and schools to be trauma-informed.

Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE): Many refugee/newcomer students may not be at their grade-level due to limited or interrupted access to school. Due to the nature of 

Parent Engagement: School systems across the world can be very different. Most refugees who are resettled in Albuquerque come from three parts of the world. Afghanistan, the Middle-East, East Africa or Central Africa. Some refugee parents have college degrees, speak English and understand a great deal about U.S. schools while other refugee parents were never able to go to school for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Girls may not have be able to attend school due to government policies. 
  • Some children begin to work at a young age to care for their family
  • Due to violent conflict, children are kept home to avoid danger

This makes it challenging for parents to support their children academically.



If you have questions or need support, please contact the Refugee Point of Contact:

Brandon Baca, Refugee Point of Contact 
Phone: (505) 803-7781

International Center

The International Center is a community space for newcomer students and families.

Support Staff

Meet our district and school-based Refugee and Newcomer Support Staff.