Over the past three years, nearly 32,000 Iraqi refugees have arrived in the U.S. to escape persecution back home, but many find a whole new host of challenges here in America where jobs and resources are becoming scarce.
Government-funded resettlement agencies that provide medical care and cash assistance to arriving Iraqis are overwhelmed by the large number of refugees, and there are fewer entry-level jobs because of the recession.
While the government has promised to provide more assistance in the future, some Iraqis worry that they will be forced to leave the U.S. and possibly go back to Iraq.
In this video, NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Kaye reports from El Cajon, near San Diego, where more Iraqis have settled than any other city.
"Much of the [Iraqi refugee] population is quite educated and quite well-connected in Iraq. And they're starting over so to speak, which they're willing to do as well, except they can't find that tread, that -- that pathway yet, partly because of the economy, partly because of cultural differences." Michael McKay, head of San Diego Catholic Charities office
"It's actually just like we were dreaming about the American dream, to come here. The life here, it's hard without -- without money." - Amir Tamimi, Iraqi refugee
1. What is a refugee? Where do they come from?
2. What kinds of challenges might refugees face trying to create a new life in America?
3. What would it be like to be a refugee from Iraq, where America is currently fighting a war?
1. What did you learn from this video?
2. What kinds of challenges do you think refugee families face besides finding money and jobs?
3. In the video, Jeffrey Kaye talks to a 17-year-old Iraqi who is worried her parents will make her go back to Iraq. How would you feel in her situation? What would you want your family to do?
4. In a time of budget cuts and economic hardship, should the government should spend more money to help these refugees? Why or why not?