Group helps Syrian refugees resettle in Chicago

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An organization helps refugees resettle in Chicago. (WLS)

Tens of thousands of people from war-torn Syria have traveled across the world in search of safety. Some of the refugees are now in Chicago.

The number of migrants trying to get out of the Middle East has grown exponentially since Syria lapsed into civil war after the Arab Spring of 2011. They're moving into neighboring countries and then into Europe.

Half of the refugees are children, according to the United Nations.

On Friday, some refugees who relocated to Chicago met with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, who believes the United States of America needs to do more to help.

"It has been one month, but people are very friendly. People will say hello in the streets," one refugee, said through an Arabic translator.

Durbin asked the refugees to share their stories. One woman, Fatima, said her father and brother were killed by the Assad regime. Fatima, who has been in Chicago for 14 months, left home in 2012 and spent time in crowded camps in Jordan and Lebanon before passing a rigorous U.S. refugee-vetting process.

"We find the safe here. We forget the sorrow," she said.

Visibly moved, Durbin vowed he'd work to get more refugees allowed into the U.S.

"Our crisis of our time is this moment in Syria," Durbin said. "We are being tested as a world as to whether we will respond in a right way to help these helpless people."

In Chicago, the organization Refugee One helps new arrivals find homes, learn English, acquire skills and counseling. The Obama Administration would like to see the U.S. take in 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year.

"It certainly is not feasible for millions of Syrians to come to this country, but what we can do is make sure that we are doing everything we can to try to provide for their basic needs," White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest said.

"This is a caring nation. In our history we have done this many times and when we fail to do it, such as moments during World War II, we have come to regret it," Durbin said.

Related Topics:
politicswarsyriaChicago - Uptown
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