REFUGEES FROM WAR-TORN NATIONS often give up everything they have in an attempt to create a better future for themselves and their families. But in addition to the jobs, property and relations they leave behind, these migrants give up something far more fundamental: their legal identity.
As they leave their country of origin, refugees will often have their government IDs confiscated and their bank accounts wiped out. Without proof of citizenship, legally speaking, they cease to exist. This loss of identity is compounded by a loss of access to critical social and economic infrastructure—including the international banking system.
A lack of ID creates huge problems for the border countries taking in refugees and the relief organizations trying to help them. The situation with the Syrian crisis is aggravated