In the News / January 2016

Syrian Refugees are Guests to State of the Union Address

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Washington, DC – CongresAhmad Guest Rep. Moultonsman Seth Moulton (D-MA) invited a nine-year old Syrian refugee named Ahmad Alkhalaf to be his guest during President Obama’s final State of the Union Address on January 12, 2016.

When a bomb hit the Syrian refugee camp where Ahmad and his family were living, it killed three of his siblings and caused Ahmad to lose both of his arms. Ahmad has been receiving medical care from Boston Children’s Hospital while staying with his father in the US. His mother and four other siblings are still living in Turkey.

In a letter he wrote to President Obama, Ahmad tells his story and asks the President to consider the plight of other Syrian refugees and particularly children.  “There are many children like me.  Even if they did not lose their arms, then they lost everything else,” he wrote.

The First Lady, Michelle Obama also invited a Syrian scientist stricken with cancer and seeking a new start for his family in Michigan to be her guest.  Refaai Hamo, his son and three daughters landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in December, anxious to rebuild their lives. Hamo fled to Turkey from Syria after a missile attack killed his wife and one other daughter. He was profiled on the popular photo blog Humans of New York as “The Scientist.”

“We appreciate and thank First Lady Michelle Obama and Congressman Moulton for extending their guest seats to Syrian refugees.  As these stories illustrate there are vulnerable children and families still at risk and millions more beyond these two families.  We continue our call for robust Syrian refugee protection and resettlement to continue our humanitarian leadership in line with our American values,” said Lavinia Limon, President and CEO of US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.  “Innocent Syrians and their children just can’t wait.”

President Barack Obama has committed to accepting an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year, but some lawmakers and presidential candidates are critical of the expansion. “I hope when the American people watch tomorrow night they realize Syrian refugees are people just like them who have suffered greatly and just want to live with their families in peace.”

The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants has protected the rights and addressed the needs of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide for over 100 years.

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