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Emma Sydor: Refugees in Michigan

In 2016, Michigan resettled 1,300 refugees from Iraq.

Among them was the Al-Dulaimi family. 

Arriving in America eleven months ago, the family of seven settled in Grand Rapids and in their short time in America, the family has developed a strong community with other refugee families.

Ammar Al-Dulaimi refers to their community as his “family in America.” The families help each other adjust to life in America and provide support for each other with everything from helping each other to learn how to read English, paying bills and finding employment. It’s not all hard work though: the Al-Dulamimis and their “family in America” also frequently get together to celebrate holidays and help the younger members of their communities and families with schoolwork. 

Their found family is made up of a number of other refugee families who have been in America for a range from nine months to as long as 12 years.