San Diegans Urge U.S. to Allow More Iraqi Refugees

Many Iraqi refugees now live in El Cajon, east of San Diego

Some San Diegans are pushing for a resolution to bring more Iraqi refugees to the U.S.

Since 2003, The United States has accepted more than 74,000 Iraqi refugees and a local businessman right here in San Diego will have a conference call with the White House this Tuesday to urge leaders to accept even more.

Many Iraqi refugees who have gone through the refugee process are now living in El Cajon. One of them, Wafa Hazim, says she left Iraq after receiving threatening letters from terrorists.

“The message was telling them just like you know, go out of Iraq or you guys get killed,” Hazim said through a translator. “You will be killed. Just leave the country."

She took her five daughters and husband and fled to Syria but after the civil war broke out there they had to flee again. This time they moved to Jordan to seek asylum through the U.N for refugee status in the U.S.

“It was so scary," Hazim said. "We are all very worried about our families."

Haiman Estayfan and his family lived in Mosul when a car bomb exploded outside a police station near their home. He said the incident injured his father and traumatized his sister. The danger was what prompted them to leave the region.

"Terrifying, yea, 'cause you never know if someone can come to your house and kill you. They can do anything you know,” Estayfan said.

Both families finally made their way to El Cajon, waiting for others like them to do the same.

Local businessman Mark Arabo said he has a growing list of 70,000 Iraqis waiting for refugee status in the U.S.

After a meeting with the U.N., he said he's already secured refugee spots in Australia, France and Sweden.

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