SILVERLAKE (CBSLA.com) — As the debate continues over Syrian refugees finding asylum in the United States, two such refugees, living locally, say they are worried after a number of governors said they will not let any more into their states.
Jay Abdo and his wife, Fadia Afashe, felt forced to flee Syria in 2011, finding asylum in America as they left everything and everyone they love behind. Abdo has become an actor, and Fadia has become a painter since their time in the U.S.
“You have to leave, to flee, or you die under torture,” Abdo said.
For the two refugees, sharing memories of Syria brings both an abundance of laughter and heartache.
“Every photo ISIS releases, you look and search for your loved ones, to see if they are alive or dead,” Fadia said.
The couple says they are now worried for the other Syrian refugees, wondering if they will receive the same chance to survive.
“Hundreds of people dying in Syria every day, what happened in Paris, unfortunately, (is a) small fraction of what’s happening in Syria,” Fadia said.
The attacks in Paris on Friday spurred the governors of at least 25 states to say they either will not welcome Syrian refugees at all, or that they will need more security information first.
“As of today, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is no longer going to be involved in any Syrian refugee location,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said.
For those locals who feel closest to the attacks in Paris, meanwhile, it is a tough choice.
“How are we going to find out which ones (are) really the bad ones,” French immigrant Bernard Imchauspe asked. “It’s not going to be easy.”
Abdo says the Syrian refugees want nothing to do with terrorists, and that it is time to fight what he calls the root of the problem, not the victims of it.
“If someone infiltrated among Syrian community, they will point a finger at him to the authorities,” Abdo said. “We don’t want extremists among us.”
California Governor Jerry Brown says he intends to work closely with President Obama to ensure that refugees coming to California are vetted in a sophisticated way, but he says he still welcomes those seeking asylum.