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Syrian Refugees Speak To Students

DALLAS TOWNSHIP — Governors in 32 states have said they will not take Syrian refugees. Pennsylvania is not one of those states. On Thursday, a family of S...
syrian-refugees

DALLAS TOWNSHIP -- Governors in 32 states have said they will not take Syrian refugees. Pennsylvania is not one of those states.

On Thursday, a family of Syrian immigrants visited a school in Luzerne County to explain the struggles they went through to get here.

Family members are learning English and say they're grateful for the opportunity to be in the United States. That's despite some political pressure to close our borders out of fear of terrorism.

The family are among 10,000 Syrian refugees welcomed into the United States last year, in the midst of his country's bloody civil war.

"I lived here one year and a few months in America, and I like it here, it's wonderful!" said Anas Allouc.

He and his family spoke to a group of Misericordia University students, as part of the school's Mercy Week. He remembers the day the United Nations called him, telling him he could be going to the U.S.

"I want to go to dream land, to go to next life, a new life."

But his family's visit also comes in the midst of a presidential election, where border security and Syrian refugees are hot issues. To some students, terrorism comes to mind, like the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed at least 129 people.

Authorities said that at least one of the attackers had been carrying a fake Syrian passport, leading them to believe that he'd entered Europe as a refugee. But school leaders want these students to walk away knowing something more about Syrians.

"I want them to understand that this is probably, since in their lifetime and my lifetime, this is the biggest humanitarian crisis that we've witnessed," said Christopher Stevens, government law professor.

Students were surprised to learn only a fraction of Syrian refugees ever get to flee to a safe country, and only a fraction of them arrive in the U.S.

"I think it's much more humanizing to see the actual people this is relating to," said sophomore Briana Scorey.

That Syrian refugee is currently enrolled at Luzerne County Community College, where he's studying English. He eventually wants to study business.

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