In 2007, Ahmed Al-Zubidi applied for refugee status in the United States after several of his journalist colleagues were murdered or kidnapped by terrorists. In 2014, he and his family moved to Beaverton, a quiet suburb of Portland, Oregon. The process for approving their application had taken seven years.
Ahmed’s son Mustafa remembers watching news reports on Iraqi television when his father’s boss was killed. “I got used to it,” he says. But after two years in Oregon, Mustafa seems like a normal American 10-year-old. He collects Pokemon cards. He says he lives a life that’s “two times better than my dream.”
Under a recent US executive order banning refugees from Iraq and six other countries, that dream is no longer available to other families like the Al-Zubidis.