Story from the International Rescue Committee:

Here are some stories of refugees in the US from around the world… why they had to flee their countries and how the settled in the US. I’ve quoted some excerpts below, but click the link above to read the full story.

I also included at the end a video from another refugee family settled in Seattle from IRC’s Youtube channel.

1980s: Vietnamese refugees flee by boat

When Saigon fell in 1975, hundreds of thousands of people tried to escape Vietnam in rickety, overloaded boats. Officially, the war had ended, but the shelling and bombing was endless, recalls Lieu Thi Dang, a high-school English teacher from Da Nang. She and many others realized they had no choice but to escape by sea. As their numbers swelled beyond expectations, the United States passed the 1980 Refugee Act, funding the resettlement program that exists today. More than 800,000 Vietnamese refugees, including Lieu, were welcomed to the U.S.

1990s: Bosnian refugees evade a mass killing

We didn’t really worry about the war until it was too late. The siege [in my town] broke and it became an urban war — shooting from building to building. After six months, it became clear it was time to go. Ironically, I’d never seen Jajce so peaceful — people hugged and kissed and bid each other farewell, not sure when, if ever, they would see each other again.

2000s: Iraqi family survives two wars

When we found out we were being resettled in the United States, we felt our dreams of having a normal life as a family had come true. We didn’t know anyone in Oakland, but we were determined to do our best. I remember the customs officer at the airport reviewing our documentation. We were nervous, but when he said “welcome home” relief washed over us. We were enrolled in an employment program through the International Rescue Committee that helped Hamzah find a job, and I’ve enrolled in English classes.

2000s: Afghans flee terror at home

Despite progress in building a stable state, a recent Taliban resurgence has created a dangerous environment in many parts of the country. Ajmal Massoumy sought to rebuild his nation, working as an interpreter for the United States Special Forces to help bring peace and stability to local communities. When his full name was broadcast on U.S. radio, Ajmal became a target of the Taliban and was forced to flee for his life. The volatile situation in Afghanistan has uprooted hundreds of thousands like Ajmal, making Afghanistan one of the top ten refugee-producing countries in the world.

I found my first job at Chipotle with the help of the International Rescue Committee, got my driver’s license, learned how to file taxes and understand credit. Getting my GED is my next big goal. My life improves every day. I hope to enroll in college soon to study construction engineering, perhaps at the College of Alameda or Berkeley. One day, I know I will return to Afghanistan to rebuild my country.

“A Yazidi family from Iraq, one of the many ethnic minorities persecuted by ISIS, was preparing for a joyful reunion in the land of the free when things changed. Here is their story.”

The vetting process took FIVE YEARS. They arrived in the US the day of the inauguration and then the rest of the family was blocked after the first travel ban EO.