When his father was killed, Abdull Omar Hussen knew it was time to leave.
As members of a minority group in Somalia, his family knew violence. But when his father was shot in February of last year, Abdull’s nine-year-old sister was sitting on his lap. She was killed, too. The double tragedy forced the family to sell their home and make their way to a refugee camp inKenya. Abdull continued on his own to Nairobi, where he was able to get a flight to Dubai. Then, it was on to Moscow, to Cuba, toBelize, to Guatemala, to Mexico. “I traveled by air, by bus, by foot … almost every kind of way,” Abdull explained. He entered theUnited Statesin May 2009 and was detained by Border Patrol.
Abdull, now 27, spent two months in detention. “I was so worried,” he said. “I never thought I’d be in jail. When I set out to go to the United States, I never thought they would arrest me!” At his first court hearing, the judge referred Abdull to ProBAR, which offers free legal services for refugees and asylum applicants. His ProBAR attorney got Abdull to La Posada Providencia. And, now, with the help of ProBAR and La Posada, Abdull has won asylum and is free to make a new life for himself in theUnited States.
“(The staff at La Posada) have been very, very, very, very helpful,” Abdull said. “They are like my family. They take care of me. They provide so many things.” Among the help Abdull received are English lessons (he knew virtually no English when he arrived here), transportation to court and lawyer appointments, assistance with immigration and legal paperwork, and, of course, food and safe shelter.
Abdull will move to New England, where he has friends. He is a mechanic – a trade he learned working alongside his father. His family – his wife, mother and two brothers – remain in Somalia. His mother is too sick to travel, but he hopes to bring his wife to join him. “Then I will start my life.”