I have a slew of Iraqi refugee stories today; I hope I can get them all posted. Here is the first, same old story! Iraqi refugee, a single man, misses his family and is considering returning to Iraq. From the Star-Telegram:
FORT WORTH — He arrived 2 1/2 weeks ago, with a heavy suitcase and years of pent-up hopes and dreams.
Faced with imminent danger in his homeland of Iraq, 39-year-old Hussein Khalifa was finally in the United States — in Fort Worth — seeking refuge in a country where one of his friends said “this is the life.”
Now he’s wondering whether danger really is the worst thing he could face.
Loneliness has set in on the man accustomed to working two jobs and spending much time with his 4-year-old nephew.
He has been forced into a slower pace as he waits for a Social Security card and legal documents that will let him formally begin a job search. So he spends time talking with other Iraqi refugees, looking through old pictures, sending e-mails to family and talking on the telephone with his nephew, who wants him to come home.
“I’m frustrated,” said Khalifa, an English teacher, interpreter and special correspondent for news organizations in Baghdad. “At home, I have everything I want — a home, money, family. But … I can’t guarantee my life.
“In this country, I have my life but nothing else.”
Texas is one of the few states in the nation where employment numbers are still good, but not good enough for a refugee who speaks English well.
So difficult [the transition to America] for Khalifa that he has set a personal deadline: Find a job by September, when an Iraqi school holiday ends, or go back to Iraq.
“Maybe I was wrong about my dream,” Khalifa said. “Maybe this was a terrible mistake.”
You can bet the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has fully informed him of the consequences should he return to Iraq. Each of these returnees is a black-eye to the do-gooders (we want to show you what good people we Americans are) in the State Department, but even more so to the federal contractors (see the Top Ten here) whose responsibility it is to help them adjust to their new lives, make them comfortable and help them find work. ‘Hey buddy, you leave and you can’t come back and besides we want our airfare money we loaned you!’
Khalifa said he would return to Iraq before his money runs out.
But if he goes back, he will no longer be considered a refugee and can’t come back to the United States, Amara said. Either way, he has to repay the International Organization for Migration for his trip costs.
Note to Khalifa: Check with your embassy in Washington, DC. Apparently the Iraqi government is paying airfares home! See this post.