PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Abdullah family’s three-year journey from Iraq to Oregon ended when the five refugees stepped off a plane Friday afternoon at Portland International Airport.
The family’s entry was one of those rejected while President Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from seven majority Muslim countries was in effect. They made the trip from Turkey after the ban was blocked.
“I feel here more safety, because here there is more life,” said father Hussein Abdullah through an interpreter.
He, his wife Ahfrah, and their three sons had been living in a refugee camp. The executive order delayed their departure until Thursday.
Representatives from Catholic Charities of Oregon were again on hand to greet and hug the family. They brought signs and backpacks filled with stuffed animals, towels and other household items, and letters written the family from local children.
“It’s been an outpouring of caring about each other,” said refugee coordinator Chapone Siulapasai.
Another well-wisher brought three bags full of new Nike sneakers, courtesy of a friend who works at Nike.
Abdullah said he didn’t think much about the news of President Trump’s executive order.
“We don’t have a choice,” he said.
The family will be settled into an apartment stocked with a week’s worth of Halal food, which is prepared according to Islamic law.
Abdullah said he is most looking forward to getting his family settled and his boys into school. Ibrahim Abdullah, 11, said he wants to become a doctor.
“We want to make 100 percent sure they are safe and comfortable," said Ahmed Ali, a caseworker from Catholic Charities and himself an Iraqi refugee.