We Are Okay

In San Diego, the 601 refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients accepted during 2019 filled 501 local jobs and opened 97 new minority-owned businesses, making San Diego County an exemplification of refugee self-sufficiency following resettlement.

Ndizeye works for a large paper product manufacturer in San Diego, taking the bus and trolley more than an hour each way. He returns home from work around midnight. During the day, Uwimana walks the kids to and from school, attending English classes herself in between.

“We are feeling okay,” Ndizeye says. “We can move around during the day or at night, not feeling like we will face problems. We can buy food and get the necessities. It’s a good feeling.”  



Ndizeye notices that in America, there is not as much time spent with neighbors as in Rwanda. Everyone is busy—himself included. His next step is to get a car so that he can move faster. It is not easy to provide. It is not easy to adapt. But he hopes more refugees are given the opportunity.

“They have the energy and ability to work,” Ndizeye says. “If they can get resettled and have a nationality here in the U.S., they can keep being useful, get a good education and solve problems instead of being in a refugee camp for years and years.”

In January 2020, Ndizeye and his family celebrated their first full year in the U.S. Meanwhile, the State Department announced a cap of 18,000 refugees to be accepted into the country over the next 12 months, down from 30,000 in 2019 and 110,000 in 2016. For comparison, there were more than 878,000 refugees and asylum seekers from the DRC alone as of November 2019, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Learn how you can help give refugees a pathway to self-reliance and a sense of belonging in America.

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