For Iraqis in America, terror is replaced by financial woe

Lexington Herald-LeaderApril 19, 2009 

Faced with ongoing war and death threats, millions of Iraqis fled their homeland in recent years. During the past 18 months, some Iraqi families have settled in Kentucky, and more continue to arrive every week or so.They come not only seeking refuge from the kidnappings and sectarian killings, but they bring with them the expectation of an America full of jobs and promise — the America that they have been told so much about.

Their arrival here, however, coincides with the massive economic recession, and their hopes for better lives in the United States are severely blunted by economic hardship. They stand among the thousands of Americans who are unemployed.

Some Iraqis have found part-time work or manual labor. But it's a far cry from their work back home as doctors, teachers or entrepreneurs. Plus, their lack of English skills and work experience in the United States forces them to start at the bottom with low-wage jobs. At least one returned to work in Iraq with the U.S. military as an interpreter and now sends money to his family in Lexington. They might be safer, but the Iraqis here have new worries.

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