Syrian refugee talks about moving to Bay Area

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Friday, November 20, 2015
Syrian refugee talks about moving to Bay Area
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Mohamod Alnukta now lives in Oakland with his wife and two daughters, but it took him two years to get here and escape Bashar al-Assad's regime.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A Syrian refugee who now calls the Bay Area home is afraid of what's next for his family stuck overseas.

Mohamod Alnukta now lives in Oakland, but just eight months ago, he lived in limbo. His parents and siblings are out of Syria and waiting in Jordan. But with Thursday's congressional vote to not accept any new Syrian refugees into the U.S., he doesn't know when or if they'll be reunited.

READ MORE: House votes to curb Syrian refugees, snubs Obama veto threat

Catholic Charities of the East Bay helps resettle 150 refugee families a year. Alnukta's family is the only one who made it out of Syria and into Oakland.

Alnukta told ABC7 News living in America is a dream for him.

It took him, his wife, and two daughters two years to get to the Bay Area after escaping Bashar al-Assad's regime. Catholic Charities helped them find housing, jobs and other services. Still, there have been huge challenges for Alnukta because, he not only left the rest of his family behind, but he left his whole culture.

Now the organization huddles to figure out what it means if the U.S. puts extra scrutiny on one group.

"The refugees that arrive in the U.S. are probably the most thoroughly vetted group of people arriving in the U.S." Christopher Martinez from Catholic Charities of the East Bay said.

Eight months into his American life, Alnukta still waits for his parents and his siblings stuck in Jordan.

He says in Arabic that he would like Americans to embrace Syrian refugees, that they need a place where they are safe.

In the current political climate, he wonders how long it will be before the next Syrian family's folder is cleared for arrival.