Woman with family in Houston trying to move to U.S.
HOUSTON—After moves in Washington and at the state level calling for a halt to the intake of Syrian refugees, one woman now living in Jordan is in limbo. “I’m not a danger,” said Ghalia Almukhalalate who spoke to us via Skype. “I’m not terrorism.” Ghalia has spent the last three years in Jordan apart from her parents and brother who have already been resettled in the Houston area.
She said she has been vetted and cleared to join her family and had hoped to fly to Houston in a couple of weeks but now she’s not so sure because of the current political climate. “It’s too sad to hear about these things because we flee from I-S. We flee from terrorism.” Despite calls to beef-up the screening of people trying to come to the U.S. from the war-torn region, immigration attorney Pegah Rahgozar points out the process in place now is intense. “We’re seeing about a year to 18 months on average,” said Rahgozar. “You’re getting excessive medical checks, security, FBI, finger printing, background checks.
Refugees are probably by far the most vetted of all these travelers entering the US.” Travelers like Ghalia insist they just want a better life. “Without killing, without running from regime or IS, without someone wanting to cut your head,” she said.