Refugee mother shares family's journey to the U.S. in powerful animated video

Layla’s journey has been anything but easy. She’s a refugee from the eastern Somali Region of Ethiopia, which she and her husband fled because of conflict and persecution in the early 2000s. They eventually found a temporary home in Saudi Arabia, where they had children and stayed for seven years — before Layla’s husband was deported in 2010. Her employers helped her family escape to Syria. “I began to start my new life,” Layla says. “My kids had a little education at home.” But before she could truly settle, civil war erupted in Syria, contributing to one of the worst refugee crises of our time. Layla made the difficult decision to once again flee the country where her family lived, walking for two to three days to the Turkish border, where she ultimately learned of her husband’s death back home. Despite unspeakable hardship, Layla’s story does have a happy ending — one she’s able to tell herself in a new video from the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), a legal aid organization advocating for refugees around the world. With the help of IRAP, Layla and her family are currently resettled in the U.S., where she finally has a newfound sense of stability and security. “Maine is so nice,” she says through a voiceover in the video, animated by media production company agency Wondros. “I feel like my home, and better than my home, because I live safe.” “They’re pretty much shutting the refugee program down without having to say that’s what they’re doing…They’ve gotten better at using bureaucratic methods and national security arguments to achieve nefarious and unjustifiable objectives.” https://t.co/FPOprdTbiz via @yjtorbati — IRAP (@RefugeeAssist) December 8, 2017 IRAP launched Layla’s video Wednesday with a strong message: The U.S. refugee resettlement program is under attack. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle will start to hear oral arguments Thursday in the case of Jewish Family Service v. Trump, resulting from a class action complaint filed in November against the Trump administration’s latest restrictions on refugees. The restrictions effectively halt the refugee resettlement program for 11 predominantly Muslim countries; the complaint calls for a nationwide injunction against the refugee ban. “The narrative we’re trying to push with Layla, who is already a resettled client, is that if these restrictions were to go into place, her family wouldn’t have been able to reach safety,” says Sarah Blume, communications assistant at IRAP. “The U.S. has always been a model in refugee resettlement — kind of a humanitarian leader in the amount of refugees we have resettled.” The plaintiffs in the case being heard Thursday are challenging the suspension of the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and “blocking Muslim refugees from reaching the safety of this country,” according to the complaint. IRAP is challenging the suspension while agencies purport to continue reviewing the program.  If these restrictions were in place at the time, Layla and her family’s resettlement to the U.S. would have been extensively delayed, Blume says.  IRAP is fighting the ban, in part, because the restrictions roll back a robust U.S. resettlement program. President Trump dropped the resettlement quota from 110,000 refugees (the number the Obama administration set at the end of 2016) to 45,000 — the lowest it’s been in decades. “The U.S. has always been a model in refugee resettlement — kind of a humanitarian leader in the amount of refugees we have resettled,” Blume says. “Beyond that, we feel that these newly implemented refugee restrictions will make it even more difficult to resettle that number.” Not all hope is lost. In addition to the multiple legal battles against the ban, Blume and IRAP hope the video and Layla’s story will encourage viewers to share their voices, and speak out against discrimination of refugees and Muslims in the U.S. and abroad. You can donate to impactful organizations, sign up for alerts and information on more tangible ways to take action, and call your representatives to voice your concerns about policies directly affecting the resettlement program.  “Beyond Layla’s story, it’s important to understand the hardships that these folks go through,” Blume says. UPDATE: Dec. 20, 2017, 12:12 p.m. ET: This post has been updated to clarify information on the hearing of oral arguments on Dec. 21. WATCH: Ai Weiwei debuts ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ in NYC in response to the refugee crisis {“player”:{“description”:”It symbolizes the obstacles facing migrants and refugees all over the world.”,”image”:”http://dailymulligan.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-o-matic/cache/d72d28ebe3_https-3A-2F-2Fvdist-aws-mashable-com-2Fcms-2F2017-2F10-2F037f8e2b-288d-6ba3-2Fthumb-2F00001.jpg”,”mediaid”:”BblykVe0VY”,”preload”:false,”title”:”Ai Weiwei debuts ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ in NYC in response to the refugee…

... Show more

Layla’s journey has been anything but easy.

She’s a refugee from the eastern Somali Region of Ethiopia, which she and her husband fled because of conflict and persecution in the early 2000s. They eventually found a temporary home in Saudi Arabia, where they had children and stayed for seven years — before Layla’s husband was deported in 2010. Her employers helped her family escape to Syria.

“I began to start my new life,” Layla says. “My kids had a little education at home.”

But before she could truly settle, civil war erupted in Syria, contributing to one of the worst refugee crises of our time. Layla made the difficult decision to once again flee the country where her family lived, walking for two to three days to the Turkish border, where she ultimately learned of her husband’s death back home.

Despite unspeakable hardship, Layla’s story does have a happy ending — one she’s able to tell herself in a new video from the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), a legal aid organization advocating for refugees around the world.

With the help of IRAP, Layla and her family are currently resettled in the U.S., where she finally has a newfound sense of stability and security.

“Maine is so nice,” she says through a voiceover in the video, animated by media production company agency Wondros. “I feel like my home, and better than my home, because I live safe.”

IRAP launched Layla’s video Wednesday with a strong message: The U.S. refugee resettlement program is under attack.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle will start to hear oral arguments Thursday in the case of Jewish Family Service v. Trump, resulting from a class action complaint filed in November against the Trump administration’s latest restrictions on refugees. The restrictions effectively halt the refugee resettlement program for 11 predominantly Muslim countries; the complaint calls for a nationwide injunction against the refugee ban.

“The narrative we’re trying to push with Layla, who is already a resettled client, is that if these restrictions were to go into place, her family wouldn’t have been able to reach safety,” says Sarah Blume, communications assistant at IRAP.

“The U.S. has always been a model in refugee resettlement — kind of a humanitarian leader in the amount of refugees we have resettled.”

The plaintiffs in the case being heard Thursday are challenging the suspension of the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and “blocking Muslim refugees from reaching the safety of this country,” according to the complaint. IRAP is challenging the suspension while agencies purport to continue reviewing the program

If these restrictions were in place at the time, Layla and her family’s resettlement to the U.S. would have been extensively delayed, Blume says. 

IRAP is fighting the ban, in part, because the restrictions roll back a robust U.S. resettlement program. President Trump dropped the resettlement quota from 110,000 refugees (the number the Obama administration set at the end of 2016) to 45,000 — the lowest it’s been in decades.

“The U.S. has always been a model in refugee resettlement — kind of a humanitarian leader in the amount of refugees we have resettled,” Blume says. “Beyond that, we feel that these newly implemented refugee restrictions will make it even more difficult to resettle that number.”

Not all hope is lost. In addition to the multiple legal battles against the ban, Blume and IRAP hope the video and Layla’s story will encourage viewers to share their voices, and speak out against discrimination of refugees and Muslims in the U.S. and abroad.

You can donate to impactful organizations, sign up for alerts and information on more tangible ways to take action, and call your representatives to voice your concerns about policies directly affecting the resettlement program. 

“Beyond Layla’s story, it’s important to understand the hardships that these folks go through,” Blume says.

UPDATE: Dec. 20, 2017, 12:12 p.m. ET: This post has been updated to clarify information on the hearing of oral arguments on Dec. 21.

WATCH: Ai Weiwei debuts ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ in NYC in response to the refugee crisis

Https%3a%2f%2fvdist.aws.mashable.com%2fcms%2f2017%2f10%2f037f8e2b 288d 6ba3%2fthumb%2f00001

{“player”:{“description”:”It symbolizes the obstacles facing migrants and refugees all over the world.”,”image”:”http://dailymulligan.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-o-matic/cache/d72d28ebe3_https-3A-2F-2Fvdist-aws-mashable-com-2Fcms-2F2017-2F10-2F037f8e2b-288d-6ba3-2Fthumb-2F00001.jpg”,”mediaid”:”BblykVe0VY”,”preload”:false,”title”:”Ai Weiwei debuts ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ in NYC in response to the refugee crisis”,”sources”:[{“file”:”https://vdist.aws.mashable.com/cms/2017/10/037f8e2b-288d-6ba3/hls.m3u8″},{“file”:”https://vdist.aws.mashable.com/cms/2017/10/037f8e2b-288d-6ba3/dash.mpd”},{“file”:”https://vdist.aws.mashable.com/cms/2017/10/037f8e2b-288d-6ba3/mp4/1080.mp4″},{“file”:”https://vdist.aws.mashable.com/cms/2017/10/037f8e2b-288d-6ba3/mp4/720.mp4″},{“file”:”https://vdist.aws.mashable.com/cms/2017/10/037f8e2b-288d-6ba3/mp4/480.mp4″}]},”options”:{“disableAds”:false,”disableSharing”:false,”nextupAction”:”autoplay”,”embedUrl”:”http://mashable.com/videos/blueprint:BblykVe0VY/embed/?player=offsite”,”standaloneUrl”:null,”post”:{“url”:”http://mashable.com/2017/10/15/goodfencesmakegoodneighbors/”,”date”:”2017-10-15T21:05:00.000Z”,”bp_id”:59723,”wp_id”:null}},”advertising”:{“params”:{“keywords”:”art,mashable-video,social good,activism,arts culture and entertainment,mashable video,public art,real-time,real-time video,real time,real-time-video,real time video,mashable news”,”sec0″:null,”sec1″:””,”prc”:””}},”analytics”:{“labels”:”art,mashable-video,social good,activism,arts culture and entertainment,mashable video,public art,real-time,real-time video,real time,real-time-video,real time video,mashable news”,”videoSeriesName”:null}}

window._msla=window.loadScriptAsync||function(src,id){if(document.getElementById(id))return;var js=document.createElement(‘script’);js.id=id;js.src=src;document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0].parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}; _msla(“https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”,”twitter_jssdk”);

Show less