Khaled in Napa

Standing With America: A Refugee Perspective

By Khaled Turkmani

I am Syrian. Two years ago, I came to this beautiful country and immersed myself into its wonderful mix of cultures. I was inspired to be surrounded by immigrants who had given their hands and hearts up to this incredible nation for the opportunity and freedom it promised.

I knew from the first day I arrived in the United States that it would be a long process to get a work permit and really start my life, and I was determined to not be a burden on society.

With Upwardly Global and TechSF’s help, I sought employment in my field as an IT consultant to earn my keep and pay my fair share. I was fortunate to be hired by Pcubed, a global consulting company, as a project management consultant. I also got involved with several nonprofit organizations that helped the homeless, and orphans. Having come from another country myself, I understood their struggle, and supporting those who could not help themselves was something I held very close to my heart.

I have made many friends here, and I have never felt any resistance from the real American people. Try to imagine my excitement as I started a new life in this country, and found nothing but opportunity, friendship and love almost immediately. The respect and dignity I have been given by the people of the United States reaffirms my commitment to love everyone, regardless of their faith, the color of their skin, or their nationality.

I’m especially thankful for the safety it has provided me. Since the day I arrived, I have embraced the United States as my country, and I will do whatever it takes to protect this nation.

However, I have also been called a terrorist. I’m human, and I cannot even begin to tell you how much those words hurt. I want people to understand that refugees and asylees are the victims — not the perpetrators — of terrorism.

Stability, safety, respect, and humanity are the primary issues for anyone immigrating to a new country. Without these, people will not want to leave their homes, businesses and families to come to the U.S., and this will lead to a gap in tech and other fields. When people are greeted with these things, it creates loyalty to a new home. The Executive Order negates and stands against what I know, with conviction, to be the foundation of this nation.

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