Chattanoogans observe World Refugee Day
Dozens of Chattanoogans honored the resilience, courage, and hope of refugees.
Some people say earlier this year they were disappointed in some refugee and immigration laws that passed. Now, they are seeing some turnaround.
Since 1996, Bridge Refugees Services has helped more than 1000 refugees call Chattanooga home.
World Refugee Day celebrates the refugee community by acknowledging their journey to becoming American citizens.
“They love how beautiful it is of course,” said Marina Peshterianu. “They love the people who embrace them with open hearts and open arms.”
Among those celebrating are Adday Ali and his family.
They are from Iraq and first moved to Egypt because they were forced to flee their country to find safety.
“The war in 2003 in Iraq so I waited there like 10 years, but I couldn't wait anymore because I had to travel with four different people,” said Adday Ali.
Ali and his family settled in Chattanooga two years ago to regain hope for a peaceful and stable life.
“I came with nothing that's real I came with nothing,” said Ali. “Now, I have a good life, a car, and a house. My kids are in good schools, my wife is good, and my health is good.”
President Trump signed an Executive Order to keep immigrant families together at the southern border.
Ali says he's happy about the order but wish more could be done to help others in the future.
“Mr. President Trump, I would love to talk to you about that and change minds. To bring all the people here I don't mean everyone just the good families, and good people to come here,” said Ali.
Last year, President Trump announced a cap on the number of refugees allowed to enter the states at 45,000 people in 2018.
“A lot of refugees and asylum-seekers parish on the way to freedom, not everybody makes it to the happy ending,” said Peshterianu.
Chattanooga helps about 100-120 refugees a year.