Refugees learn about Thanksgiving by participating

- The battle over immigration in the United States is intensifying. The Trump Administration wants to tighten borders, including limiting refugees. But, advocates say helping asylum seekers is the foundation of our country. Real lives are stuck in the middle.

Refugees and immigrants - new to the United States and from countries all over the world – learn the meaning of Thanksgiving.

“Just two months in the United States some never observed Thanksgiving before,” said Kenneth Semuso, refugee from Uganda.

“Different accents, different food,” said Harianned Chaurel, who was granted asylum from Venezuela.

A tradition hosted by HIAS Pennsylvania, a group that provides refugee and immigrants legal and social services from the time they arrive in the United States through citizenship.

Despite some language barriers, they felt like one new family.

“Everybody’s happy, everybody’s smiling, enjoying. So, I’m happy to enjoy with them,” said Semuso. 

“Now we are here with my father and this is the best thing ever, this is it,” said Kawish Sadaqat, a refugee from Pakistan.

“Americans are such great people and I love Philly because it is a multicultural city,” Chaurel said.

Harianned Chaurel, one of the few in the room who has been here more than a year, got emotional commenting on all the talk about cracking down on immigratin.

“Sometimes it’s heartbreaking, but I find a lot of angels around me and my husband, so I always can be thankful for that,” Chaurel said.

Comforting words from the mayor, Jim Kenney, now fighting to keep Philadelphia as a sanctuary city, that also supports undocumented immigrants.

“Unless a federal judge says we can’t, we will follow what the court tells is. Unless we are told otherwise, we will continue to protect people who are in need,” said Mayor Kenney.

“One thing that I feel great about America, they accepted us, gave us an opportunity to come here,” Sadaqat said.
 

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