Iraqi family granted asylum in Bay Area awaits father's arrival

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- The largest refugee resettlement in over a half-century continues to grow as members of the European Union make commitments to accept thousands, even tens of thousands of them. But even here in the Bay Area, families facing torture, rape and murder are finding new lives in communities like Santa Clara.

One family that opened up to ABC7 News says they're fortunate because relatives already live in Silicon Valley and asylum has been granted. But they are missing one family member -- a husband and father of three teens. They agreed to share their story on one condition -- that we mask their identities.

"It's very difficult for me to raise my child," said Shamiran. "I take all the responsibility on myself."

The father is still waiting for clearance to be reunited with his family. He's in ISIS-controlled Mosul in Iraq, which worries daughter Nineveh, who's a senior in high school.

"Yes, because there it's not safe anymore," she said.

Because it's not safe anymore, they decided not to return home to Iraq after coming to the Bay Area to attend a relative's wedding. It mirrors why tens of thousands of refugees are risking their lives to find a new home in Europe.

Joseph, 14, says he always feared being killed.

"Maybe one day I will get out of my home, and then somebody will shoot me," he said. "Nobody knows when you will die. Nobody knows."

And that's the fear of refugees by the tens of thousands as they seek a new home in Europe, sometimes taking risks to get there.

"That's the only way to survive," said Mothers Against Murder Executive Director Margaret Petros. "They are not able to live that life anymore. If they were, I just don't think they would escape in the way in which they are escaping as we're watching it. But they don't have any other option."

An attorney who has been helping the family hopes that the U.S. will find a way to help the refugees as well.

"They can make changes to allow those immigrants to find safety even if they would allow it on a temporary basis," said attorney Heba Tawadross.
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