In the summer of 2013, Syrians, Susanna, George, and their two sons, arrived in the U.S. Using student visas, Susanna and George were here to take part in a short English program. However, while they were attending the program, conditions in their home country seriously worsened. It wasn’t safe to go home and Susanna, wondering how she could protect her family from certain death, came into our office for a consultation.
During her consultation, we learned that Susanna and her family are Christians and had suffered many years of religious persecution in Syria. In addition, she and her husband were pharmacists, and when the war broke out, insurgents demanded they either abandon their pharmacy or be killed.
Because they are Christians, Susanna and George were banished not only from their jobs but also from their home and neighborhood. Susanna and George complied; their friends, neighbors, and relatives had already been murdered simply because they were Christians so they knew the threats were real.
As violence in Syria escalated, Susanna and George were certain that if they returned to their home country, they would be murdered. There was no safe place for them in Syria.
Although we applied for and received Temporary Protected Status for Syrians, we also determined that full asylum was the only option to allow Susanna, George, and their family to remain in the U.S. permanently.
At Susanna and George’s asylum interview, we provided evidence of their well-founded fear of persecution. We showed the asylum officer how the Syrian regime and rebel groups have killed thousands of Christian civilians in their home city of Homs and other areas. In addition, we provided reports demonstrating how the Syrian regime targets medical professionals like Susanna and George for kidnapping, rape, and murder.
A few weeks after the interview, Susanna and George’s asylum case was approved. Christmas 2013 was the first in many years that their family celebrated the holiday in peace and safety.