What motivated you to leave your country of origin?
Mrs. J: “I used to work with the American army as a translator… in Mosul, in Iraq, me and my husband. So, in 2003, I worked with… the American army and stayed there for almost a year, then they threatened us. They sent us papers [saying] that you are working with Americans… for the enemy, so we had to [flee] the country…”
“So we fled from Iraq to Syria. And in Syria, we stayed for three years. We had a formal document [saying] that we are refugees there… Our asylum [document] is not permanent, just waiting to move… to another country. But we are legal residents… in Syria until the United Nation finds another country… We left Iraq in 2006 and stayed in Syria until 2009.
“When you [flee] from your country to another country and apply for the United Nation refugee resettlement program, they… give you a paper [to…] prove that you are… a legal, permanent resident in that country. And that means you can stay in that country, you can work in that country until the United Nation [finds] you another last destination, another country that you can then resettle… So, this paper gave us the status to be a refugee.”
What brought you to Charlotte specifically?
Mrs. J: “We don’t know.”
Luna: “The UN program will search for a place that is willing to take you, and they usually ask you, “Do you have any relatives abroad?” And we have relatives in Sweden, and we have relatives here in Michigan. And so they try to resettle you as close as possible to family or friends… They weren’t able to put us with our family. So… they just ended up putting us in Charlotte. So it was really just… chance.”Agency Involvement→