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As Syrian Family Settles Into Dallas, Judge Again Denies State's Request To Block Refugees

A Syrian family at a refugee camp in Germany earlier this year. A Syrian family of six arrived in Dallas Monday night and are learning about public transporation, the medical system here, schools and other basic necessities.

A federal judge on Wednesday denied the state’s latest request to keep Syrian refugees out of Texas.

The state’s motion cited a new report that federal officials are worried terrorist groups could get into the country through the refugee resettlement process. Meanwhile, the Syrian family who arrived in Dallas this week is settling into their new home.

It’s been a long journey to the U.S. for this family of six. Two parents, two children, two grandparents.

Officials won’t reveal their names or where they’re staying out concern for their safety. The six arrived in Dallas Monday evening after a weekend-stay in New York – and in the middle of a legal battle. The state wanted to keep them out. The federal government and the non-profit coordinating the move wanted them here.

“They’re just so grateful to be here. They’re overjoyed to finally have a place to call home,” said Daley Ryan, deputy director for the Dallas office of the International Rescue Committee, or IRC. “They feel very welcomed by the Dallas community. And, you know, it’s also important to say they’re excited to start their new life here.”

Ryan’s organization has been helping the family get settled. In Syria, he said, they led full, happy lives in Syria. The civil war, however, changed all of that.

“They’ve witnessed and lived through first-hand the terror and violence that has now affected that country in such a profound way,” he said. “So they were forced to flee their home with their children and a few bags in tow.”

The family spent time in Jordan and in refugee camps. Dallas is a far-cry from home and making the transition here isn’t easy. IRC will help the family get into English classes and find jobs. They’ll also learn about the medical system here and how to get around.

“Really what they want is a return to normalcy,” Ryan said. “This family, specifically, one of the first things that they told us is that they’re here for their kids. They want to get their kids into school as quickly as possible.”

For most Syrian refugees, the process to enter the U.S. can take 18 months to two years. And for this family, he said, a political controversy can’t diminish the joy of setting down roots in Texas.

You can read more about the judge's ruling and lawsuit here. 

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.