First Refugee Arrival in Jersey City

Mahmoud Mahmoud | April 17, 2015

Aiman Raji Hussein at Newark International Airport. Photo: CWS

Aiman Raji Hussein at Newark International Airport. Photo: CWS

An individual would never flee his or her country given the choice. On the contrary, a refugee flees his or her country of origin because they have been persecuted because of their race, religion, political opinion, nationality or they are a member of a particular social group and cannot return because they will be harmed.

Modern day refugees want security and it is a tremendous feeling to work at CWS and assist people who have been separated from his or her family for years. Seeing Aiman Raji Hussein walking into Newark Liberty International Airport after stepping off of his 18 hour flight, to enter the United States for the first time, was a momentous occasion for me. I handed Aiman my phone so he could call his family and notify them of his safe arrival.  Aiman hugging his brother for the first time in years, his tears of joy mixed with sorrow, puts the work that I do in perspective.

Refugee resettlement to me means giving back to those that have had so much taken from them. Resettling my first refugee with CWS as part of our new Jersey City, New Jersey, office is a moment that I will never forget.

Mahmoud Mahmoud is the Director of CWS’s Jersey City office.