IRC Staff Awaits Citizenship
Five years ago, Maha Ghanm arrived in Tucson with her husband and five children. Maha and her family were refugees from Iraq, where political turmoil and violence posed serious daily threats to their safety.
Today, Maha is a case manager with the IRC in Tucson, and is whisper-close to fulfilling her dream for herself and her family: becoming a U.S. citizen. Having recently passed the U.S. Citizenship test, Maha and her husband are awaiting the naturalization ceremony, when they’ll truly be able to celebrate.
“On that day, finally, I’ll be an American citizen,” Maha said. “Of course I love my home country – I have happy and sad memories from there. I wish there was peace. But I can see my kids’ futures here. I am happy – I have a job and friends who have become my family here.”
As a refugee herself, Maha knows well the struggles and challenges new refugees who have just arrived in Tucson face – and how resilient they are, too. After fleeing from some of the most dangerous countries in the world, it’s comforting to be welcomed to Tucson by someone who can empathize. Maha understands that they, too, are just beginning on their journeys of becoming successful thriving Americans.
“I think they feel more comfortable to find someone like them, who has had the same experience, when they’re picked up at the airport,” Maha said. “I like helping people. I think I’m doing the right thing.”
The IRC in Tucson helps refugees and other eligible immigrants with citizenship preparation. For more information on the IRC’s immigration services, contact Tucson@Rescue.org.