We will visit a family from Burundi that includes 8 members; mother/father and 3 sons/3 daughters with age ranges of 4 years to 22 years old. They are from Bujumbura, Burundi (capital city) and left due to war and the ongoing political unrest. The father managed to flee to Tanzania and secured a visa to the US in 2013. Upon arrival he claimed political asylum. The rest of the family fled in 2015 and were able to be reunited with the father earlier this year after the father filed a Family Reunification request. The mother described the situation in Burundi as very difficult and unsafe when the father left. They were able to have money to live with rental properties they owned. They did not live in a refugee camp but fled to Rwanda where they secured travel documents and came to the US to be with the father. The father i now works full time at the airport as a driver and parking attendant. The family feels very fortunate to be together and to feel safe again. The children are all in school except for the 22 year old who is looking for work.
We will also visit a family of 5 from Iraq. The couple have 3 children; 2 daughters – age 13 and 19 and a son age 8. The father formerly worked for the US government in Iraq and was able to get a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) due to this work and relationships he had. They needed to leave Iraq due to life threatening situations. They still have many family members there and hope to have them come to the US at some point. They originally left Iraq in 2016 and traveled to Texas, lived there for 1 year and then moved to Phoenix to be with another family member. The children are in school and enjoy math, English and social studies. They speak English very well. They are very happy to be here and feeling safe again in their home and community.
And we will visit a family from Afghanistan, a couple and their 5 children, ages 9 months to 12 years old. The father has a law degree and was a worked in the court system in Afghanistan. Prior to coming to the USA he worked with the US Army in various capacities and as a key translator. Because of this relationship, he received death threats from sources opposed to the US involvement in his country. He came to the US as part of the SIV program. Since they just arrived in October, the family is still taking part in cultural orientation classes, focussing on English language and job hunting skills. With his education and already excellent English skills, the father should have many opportunities for employment.