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'I Can't Go Back': Resettling In North Texas After Syria Isn't Easy, Activist Says

For the families resettling in North Texas from Syria, it can be a difficult and long process. Ghada Mukdad came with her husband and three boys in 2012. 

Now that they are here, Mukdad and her family are trying to establish new lives, but it hasn't been easy. 

  Interview Highlights: Ghada Mukdad...

…On coming to the U.S.:

“When I came to the United States, I found that American people stand behind me and my kids. …I came here every year as a visitor, and I never thought I would stay long here. Every year, I’d visit Las Vegas, San Diego, we would come every summer.  The last time we came here, many things changed in Syria. We thought things would be solved, [President Bashar Assad] would step down, and the war will have ended. After a lot of threats of [to] kidnap my kids, I thought ‘I can’t go back.’”

…On the difficulties Syrians face in America:

“It’s hard for anyone living in the United States. It’s not easy at all. My husband is a doctor – a urologist – and he was one of the top 10 in Syria, he practiced for 25 years. Then he had to face the reality that he cannot work.

Related: I Escaped The War In Syria, But I'm Still In Visa Limbo [Medium]

There’s a lot of family here who are now experiencing the same things which I’m facing. There was a technical engineer who came here to the U.S. and now he’s working in churches, another who’s a pharmacist is now working at a gas station, and another who’s a lawyer is now working at Pizza Hut. Why doesn’t the United States benefit from those people who are educated? Most of them speak two languages. They can be part of America’s future.” 

Ghada Mukdad is a Syrian peace activist and an ESL teacher at Cedar Valley College.

Copyright 2020 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Ghada Mukdad and her family after her eldest son, Abdulmuhsen, graduated from High School in May 2015.
Ghada Mukdad /
Ghada Mukdad and her family after her eldest son, Abdulmuhsen, graduated from High School in May 2015.

Gus Contreras is a digital producer and reporter at KERA News. Gus produces the local All Things Considered segment and reports on a variety of topics from, sports to immigration. He was an intern and production assistant for All Things Considered in Washington D.C.
Rick Holteris KERA's vice president of news. He oversees news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News won 41 awards last year, including the station's first-ever national Edward R. Murrow Award for a video in its series One Crisis Away: Rebuilding A Life. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.