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Finding triumph for Chicago’s refugees

Immigrant Connect and RefugeeLives present the first installment of our 2012 refugee stories. Please visit our companion site – Shifting…

Story Locator

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False papers mean not wanting to say you’re illegal

She had entered the United States on a Polish passport, which was a forgery, or as she called it – “false papers” – created so she could survive in Poland during the war.

The Migration
Mozambican Monday: A ride on the deportation train

I decide to ride the deportation train to Mozambique, which runs every Monday. Each year, an average of 80,000 Mozambicans are deported [from South Africa].

Culture Shock
Ethel Benigno

Ethel Benigno immigrated to Chicago from Manila, Philippines in July 2009, to get to know a man whom she hadn’t…

Learning the Language
Indonesian misses ability to tell jokes

Caroline Williams can’t express herself. Frustrated by a language barrier, the Indonesian is unable to express the humor she finds so vital to her personality.

Work, Jobs and Money
Giving back by going back, with pan-African dimensions

For many African immigrants, education is their ticket to a dream of returning to their homeland and helping their communities. In the process, many are discovering an expanded notion of homeland, one with a pan-African cast to it.

Problems with Papers
An Iranian odyssey: A Chicago lawyer looks back

Over eight years, Azita Mojarad ping-ponged between eight countries, alone and undocumented. When she finally made it back to America in 1987, it was far from the dream she expected.

Family
Lessons from My Immigrant Father

  The backyard erupted with cheers when the team across the net missed the volleyball that my 62-year-old father had…

Fearing the Law
Love knows no boundaries–but U.S. immigration laws

“What we didn’t realize–and they don’t tell you this until you have had a bad experience–once you have a visa you really should stay put because every time you cross the border they don’t necessarily have to let you back in the country.”

Identity
Undocumented youth confide and come out

In light of the DACA process, many young immigrants, including 20-year-old José Martinez, reach a point in their lives when they are forced, for various reasons, to confide in their peers and teachers about their undocumented status. They weigh the risks of being in the open against the benefits of having a support system through their legal and personal ordeals.

Good Question
What type of financial assistance are refugees entitled to?

Akol was unaware of complexities that came with obtaining the luxuries he desired in Sudan and Kenya that in the U.S. were the basic staples of daily life.

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