Born in Saudi Arabia, Youssif Almusawi’s family escape from Iraq in 1991 during the Gulf War.
“We lived in a concrete house and didn’t have much at the refugee camp. My dad was selling Kebab sandwiches to make ends meet. He tried his best to make life easy and better for us.” Said Almusawi.
In 1996, a 3 year old Almusawi and his family were lucky enough to be relocated to Erie, Pennsylvania. They arrived in America with only $50 to their name and hope in their hearts. Life wasn’t easy but with the help of USCRI’s Erie Field Office, they soon made a life for themselves in the Erie community.
Now, Almusawi is giving back to the country that gave him his fresh start by joining law enforcement.
“I went to Mercyhurst College for three semesters and went through the six-month Police Academy for credits to complete my Act120 and earn an Associates Degree… It is a great feeling because I feel like it’s a stepping-stone in the Iraqi-American chapter for the City of Erie.”
Almusawi’s new career and new life are indicative of the changing landscape of Erie, PA. A rust belt city, the population has been on the decline for the last five years. However, it has also been increasingly diversify due to refugee and immigrant populations. And it is no doubt that these populations – people just like Almusawi – are contributing to a revitalization of Erie.
Read a full interview with Almusawi here.