I Escaped The Taliban, However The Destiny Of Many — Like My Spouse — Is In Biden’s Arms

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Once I first drove from Chicago to California as a long-distance truck driver, I liked seeing America from the freeway: sunsets over the Nice Plains, snowfall within the Rocky Mountains, the Sierras’ jagged peaks.

I’m an Afghan refugee who arrived in america in September 2019, and I’m nonetheless amazed to name this stunning nation my residence. I’ve been so completely satisfied to carry even a little bit pleasure to households throughout the nation throughout this troublesome time and to ship important objects to homebound People. With a report variety of packages shipped in 2020, I’m proud to contribute to the nation that saved my life.

And but my resettlement has been bittersweet. As a result of the Trump administration slashed refugee admissions to simply 18,000 folks in 2020 — down 80% from Barack Obama’s remaining yr in workplace — my spouse couldn’t include me. She stays in Afghanistan, the place my household grew to become Taliban targets for aiding the American army.

The hazard she faces is actual. In 2012, her brother didn’t return residence from the mechanic store we owned in Ghazni, 90 miles south of Kabul. We looked for him all evening and into the subsequent day. Lastly, his physique turned up outdoors town. When the Taliban despatched a letter saying I used to be subsequent, I knew I needed to go away.

The U.S. made a promise to households like mine: They’d shield us for risking our lives. The outgoing president reneged on that promise, closing America’s doorways when world displacement is larger than ever: 79.5 million folks worldwide.

That’s why I’m relieved President Joe Biden is elevating the refugee cap to earlier ranges, which have been over 100,000 a yr earlier than Trump took workplace. It’s the American factor to do, nevertheless it’s additionally important as we construct our approach out of the recession.

At this second, practically 350,000 refugees, together with myself, are filling important roles within the pandemic. We begin companies at larger charges than American-born residents, in accordance with the suppose tank New American Economic system. And we’re dedicated to changing into American in each sense of the phrase. Most refugees finally change into residents, naturalizing at far larger charges than different immigrants within the nation.

That is completely my aim. As quickly as my spouse arrives, I’ll open a mechanic enterprise just like the one I owned in Afghanistan. My spouse plans to assist with operations. As quickly as we’re ready, we’ll begin the citizenship course of. After years of displacement and worry, I’m keen to place down roots.

In 2013, I fled to an Australian refugee camp, however I couldn’t transfer across the nation freely and even work. I felt misplaced with out my livelihood. In 2019, after I landed on American soil in Los Angeles, I couldn’t consider I used to be truly right here. I known as my spouse and mom, and so they each cried with tears of aid.

My first job was at {an electrical} provide retailer in Dallas. Though I used to be nonetheless in coaching, I earned “employee of the month” after simply 4 weeks. I met mates who invited me into their houses, and I fell in love with American holidays like Thanksgiving and Independence Day.

I stayed seven months, then left to be a truck driver. I now stay on the highway and work as many hours as doable, saving cash and getting ready for my spouse’s arrival. It’s onerous work and lengthy hours ― my shift is from 3 a.m. to three p.m. each day ― however I’m completely satisfied to do it.

I miss my spouse each day; I haven’t seen her or my household in practically eight years. All of them stay in peril. After the Taliban’s threats, my older brother left the nation and my youthful brother, a gifted welder, left our store to work at a automobile wash, making lower than he did earlier than.

I do know my household would thrive in America. Refugees are among the most vetted immigrants that come to the U.S. Most of us discover work instantly, typically in fields like manufacturing and residential well being care that desperately want extra employees. And after 25 years within the nation, refugees have a median revenue $14,000 larger than the American common, in accordance with a examine by NAE.

As refugees, we don’t take the liberty and alternatives in America with no consideration. We’re right here to work onerous, give again and construct a greater future for our households and communities.

It’s one thing I take into consideration after I’m dropping off a cargo of packages. Irrespective of the vacation spot, I’ve pushed lots of of miles throughout this miraculous nation to ensure the products that American households want arrive safely. I solely hope my circle of relatives can someday see the fantastic thing about this nation for themselves.

Frydon Azimi got here to the U.S. from Afghanistan in 2019 and is a truck driver. He had enhancing help from New American Economic system, a bipartisan analysis and advocacy nonprofit devoted to bridging the political and cultural divide round immigration. The phrases and views expressed on this op-ed are his personal.

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