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Pharmacist and former refugee becomes US citizen

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Originally from Jordan, Lina came to the US through the refugee resettlement program in the spring of 2013, along with her husband Omar and their two children. Before she became a refugee, Lina worked as a pharmacist for many years and Omar was a dentist. Things were challenging when they first arrived in  America: “It was very hard as I had to take jobs that were underpaid and below my qualification level,” said Lina. “My first job was at Panera Bread; it was hard, but I had to work to assist my family. While employed at Panera Bread, I was relentlessly applying for countless jobs within my qualification.”

Lina holding her citizenship certificate and an American flag after she was sworn in as a US citizen.
Reflecting on what it means to her to be an American, Lina shared, “I am looking forward to dreaming bigger and assisting others. I know this is just the beginning of my greatness.” Photo: LIna

A short time later, Lina secured employment at Macy’s as a Sales Associate. “I was happy but still wanted more out of life,” she shared. “I knew I had the qualifications and potential, and I believed in this country. I worked very hard and had to prove myself.” It wasn’t long before Lina was promoted to Counter Manager, a position she holds to this day.

"I know this is just the beginning of my greatness."

After living in the US for five years, Lina and Omar became eligible to apply for citizenship, and both passed the citizenship test and were sworn in as new Americans this year. “I am very happy that I am finally a US citizen, but the road to my citizenship was not smooth,” Lina recalled. “I had to undergo the citizenship process twice due to a wrongfully issued citation under my name. If not for the constant follow-up by Hayat—the IRC in Atlanta’s Immigration Manager—my case would have been denied.”

Lina became a citizen in May this year, a couple of months after Omar, who currently serves as the IRC in Atlanta’s Student Support Specialist, helping newly-arrived refugee families to navigate the American school system and empowering parents to be involved with their children's education.

Reflecting on what it means to her to be an American, Lina shared, “I am looking forward to being part of the decisions that take place in my society, which I and my family are very excited about. I am also looking forward to dreaming bigger and assisting others. I know this is just the beginning of my greatness.”

To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at  Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.

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