Fleeing Syria: Caught Between the Immigration System and Reuniting a Family

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Children play in a Syrian refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan

It’s been two years since the uprising in Syria began. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the country. One woman finds herself back in New York, caught at the intersection between the U.S. immigration system, war refugees and the conflict in Syria. 

Ahlam is 28 years old. She came to New York for the first time in 2005, when she was still singe. Her father had immigrated to the U.S. 22 years ago and, now, all her family is here.  She got a green card, but went back to Syria to study medicine. There she met her husband, who is also a doctor. 

Four months ago she returned to the U.S. to give birth to her daughter in the safety of an American hospital. Now she feels caught between two options: staying in New York or returning to Syria, where the violent civil war continues to rage.

Feet in 2 Worlds reporter Yael Even Or tells Ahlam’s story — the limited options open to Ahlam and her husband — to WNYC’s Richard Hake.