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Refugee celebrating first 4th of July shares journey to US

Tuesday July 3, 2018

(ABC 6 News) -- Independence Day is only a few days away, and celebrations are already underway with parades, fireworks and picnics. However, for some, the holiday has a deeper meaning.

ABC 6 News spoke with a Somali refugee who moved to Rochester just months ago. 

“Right now I am a bus driver,” said Anab Khayre. Anab used to work at a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to the United States.

 “When we were in the refugee camp I used to be a security guard,” Anab said.

It was a dangerous job for her and for her family. 

Her oldest daughter was stabbed on her way out of school and Anab’s leg was slashed. 

“They get out of the jail and target me and look for me and attack me so many times,” she remembered. 

After she and her family qualified for refugee status, they spent a few months in Kentucky and Minneapolis before moving to Rochester.   

“Yeah, actually I like America, and my kids also like, and people of America are good people, and they welcome us and they are really good people,” she said. 

Olmsted County’s most recent data says over 15,000 residents or nearly 11 percent are foreign-born. An estimated 2,800 people are undocumented. 

“People from Burma are our primary population that arrives now although we still see some Somalis and others from Middle East,” said Armin Budimlic, executive director for Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association (IMAA). 

For now, Somalis make up the largest refugee population in the area.

“Refugees and immigrants come here with hopes to better themselves and make a better life for their family which is probably what most of our residents who were born in the United States wants for themselves,” Budimlic said. 

Anab is waiting for her green card, the first step in what will be a long journey to American citizenship. 

“After we get the green card, we will wait maybe some years like four or three years later and then we will try to apply again,” she said.

As for her immediate future, Anab is still deciding how she and her seven kids will spend Independence Day.


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