They remind each other that they aren’t in Syria, where the sound of blasts leveling the city of Aleppo is common in the six-year civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and forced million more to flee. They reassure themselves that their son, Rahjad, 4, is safe.“How did we survive?” Zakaria Mustafa, 28, said in Arabic through a translator in his apartment off Neil Road in Reno. “I was born the day I arrived in America. We are home now, but my parents, my brothers, my wife’s sister, we don’t know if we ever will see them again.”
Zakaria Mustafa and his wife were living in Aleppo three years ago. Life was a daily struggle. At one point the only source of bread was miles away and might mean a wait of 12 hours or more standing with others, a vulnerable target.
From the Northern Nevada International Center, ‘Lessons learner about why Reno will succeed in helping refugees become self-sufficient,’ published 9/15/16 by Carina Black:
[T]here are still some skeptics who have concerns about why our country and Northern Nevada should be resettling refugees. If you count yourself among them, please consider these facts about displacement and resettlement:65.3 million people around the world have been forced from their home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. Fewer than one percent of those refugees are resettled to third countries, and only those who are most vulnerable.
- The United States has been welcoming refugees since 1975 and has settled over 3.2 million refugees from around the world with nearly half coming from Asia. In 2016 the US will have resettled 85,000 refugees. This number will increase to 110,000 in 2017.
- The US refugee resettlement system emphasizes self-sufficiency through employment and most refugees are employed. (In fact, refugee men are employed at higher rates than their US born peers 67% to 60%).
- Refugees’ participation in public benefit programs decline as length of residency increases.
- Refugees are intensively vetted for security threats before being resettled in the United States. This vetting process takes 18-24 months.
- Economic studies demonstrate that immigrants including refugees not only help fuel the nation’s economic growth but they also have an overall positive effect on the income of native born workers.