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Syrian refugee family arrives in Eugene

An eager crowd welcomed the Syrian refugee family to Eugene Wednesday night. About 100 volunteers worked to help the family relocate and many of them were at the airport holding posters. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – Eugene opened its arms and welcomed a family of refugees from Syria at the airport Wednesday night.

The Syrian family is the first to live in Lane County as part of the new Refugee Resettlement Program.

About 100 volunteers made the family’s relocation possible. Wednesday night, many of those people waited eagerly at the airport to welcome them to their new home.

A husband and wife and their two young children landed at about 10:10 p.m.

Their journey began two days ago when they left the town to Gaziantep in southern Turkey. Gaziantep is about 40 miles from the Syrian border.

From there, they took at 16-hour bus ride to Istanbul and from there they boarded the long flight to the United States.

The refugees waited two and a half years for the Department of Homeland Security to approve their status.

After that long process, they finally arrived to volunteers welcoming them with posters.

“I was worried about them; you know the situation there. So it’s hard to be far away from them, but the more important is I was always worried about them. I miss them a lot as I told you first, I love my family,” said Ali Ali, a family relative.

In 2015, more than 1,300 refugees resettled in Oregon.

All refugees are required to reimburse the U.S. State Department for the cost of their airfare. They can do that in monthly installments.

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