The Obama administration is planning to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. next year, and 300 of them could call San Diego home, according to the International Rescue Committee.
Right now, 74 refugees are living in San Diego to escape Syria. Among them is Ceko Kurd, 28, who told NBC 7 his country is plagued by deadly violence and a lack of basic necessities.
“You don’t know if you're going to wake up the next morning,” said Kurd. “Like I said, you know they're a mortar; they're firing mortars bullets.”
Kurd had to travel through four countries over seven years to reach the U.S. when he was 16. He now lives in El Cajon.
Though he was able to get out, his aunt and three cousins had to stay behind for years. But about two months ago, the trio boated, hiked and trekked across several countries until they reached Switzerland.
Thousands more are trying to make similar – and potentially more dangerous – journeys to escape the war in Syria.
Many state governors have declared they will not accept any more Syrian refugees for fear that terrorists would sneak in among them.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced he will work with President Barack Obama to ensure those coming to California will not be a threat.
According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statement, federal officials put refugees through a vetting process that has been significantly enhanced in the past few years.
Officials say refugees undergo the highest level of security checks compared to others who travel to the U.S. Their biographic and biometric information is cross-referenced with various law enforcement agencies and databases.
Once they arrive on U.S. soil, refugees are picked up at the airport by resettlement groups like the International Rescue Committee, which help them in their new lives.
Four organizations serve that purpose in San Diego, including the Kurdish Human Rights Watch in El Cajon.
“If there is a service there, we bring people to talk to them about it,” said Chinar Hussein with Kurdish Human Rights Watch. “And we bring other people to give them job information because a lot of them want to work.”
They also offer English classes and lessons on American traditions and cultures.
Kurd hopes another aunt who is still in Syria will be one of the 10,000 coming to the U.S. next year.
“She constantly hears those bombs around her, not to mention bullets flying,” said Kurd. “She has two kids that go to school when they can, when school is open.”
Last year, a totally of 6,100 refugees from around the world settled in California, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.