AUSTIN (KXAN) – This week, the governor is refusing to welcome those fleeing Syria. Abbott has also hired a refugee coordinator to look and see if any refugees in Texas may cause a public threat. For the refugees already here, many will experience one of their first holiday meals in Texas.
It’s known to Americans, but to these refugees, thanksgiving is a brand new thing. Most left their past lives behind.
Baz Aryubwal was a teacher in southern Afghanistan. He served as a translator for US forces in Afghanistan. He says that work put his life in danger. “Some were killed. Some were murdered. Just for their jobs. For nothing. They were ordinary workers or translators. They were killed,” said Aryubwal.
The journey comes with challenges big and small. Nabeel Hasan had to change his name, after officials spelled his name wrong on immigration documents.
“It was double “s” but when they put it in the I-94, they put in one “s”. When I get the ID it must be the same,” he says.
His three sons couldn’t join him today and remain in Iraq. With tensions high, he fears the worst. But he hopes one day they’ll join him in America. “This is my wish. Every day I ask God about that,” said Hasan. “We thank God and the United States to be here and safe.”
The meal was sponsored by Interfaith Action of Central Texas, one of several non-profits who help refugees begin their new life. Once a refugee arrives in this country, non-profits do the heavy-lifting to get them settled.
We checked and the Federal government only provides an apartment for 90 days and healthcare for 180 days. Beyond that, it just offers grants for non-profits to help with English programs.
But then nonprofits help with this list of services, it includes rent, cultural orientation, food, tutoring and job placements.