Fronteras: From Afghanistan To San Antonio — A Refugee Shares His Harrowing Journey To Freedom | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras: From Afghanistan To San Antonio — A Refugee Shares His Harrowing Journey To Freedom

Feb 7, 2020

A 2019 report by the Institute for Peace and Economics labeled Afghanistan as the “least peaceful” country in the world. More than 10% of all refugees worldwide are from Afghanistan — second only to Syria — and 94,000 Afghan refugees lived in the U.S. as of 2016.

A San Antonio educator was one of the millions of people who were displaced when the Soviet army invaded his native country of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Haroon Monis shares his experience of fleeing his war-ravaged homeland in his book, “A Refugee’s Story.”

Credit Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio

Legal immigration is harder to achieve in the U.S. as fewer and fewer refugees are being allowed into the country. In 1980, up to 231,000 refugees could have sought haven in the U.S., but that cap has since dwindled to 30,000 as of 2019. President Trump is carrying on that trend after he proposed an 18,000 refugee cap for the current fiscal year.

Monis and his family were smuggled from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Islamabad, Pakistan, where they lived for a year before they received word they were on the list of interviewees the U.S. government was considering for asylum. Monis' older brother was already in the U.S. and served as their sponsor.

Monis was 12 when he and the rest of his family arrived in San Antonio in 1988, and they began a new chapter of their lives — one that would come with its own challenges as newly settled refugees in a foreign country.

Monis’ other work includes “Journey into Paradise from the Hell of Afghanistan” and “Life in Paradise: A Family's Struggles.”

Hear more about Monis’ next project here:


You can learn more about his upcoming publications at haroonmonis.com.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1 and Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter @terrazas_lauren.