A Syrian scientist stricken with cancer and seeking a new start for his family in Michigan will represent Syrian refugees as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama for the president’s final State of the Union address. America, meet a Syrian Refugee Tuesday night. The kind you are discriminating against based on unfounded fears.
President Barack Obama has committed to accepting an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees, but some Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates are critical of the expansion.
Refaai Hamo, his son and three daughters landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in December, anxious to rebuild their lives. Hamo fled to Turkey from Syria after a missile attack killed his wife and one other daughter. He was profiled on the popular photo blog Humans of New York as “The Scientist.”
The White House said Sunday that Hamo will be among about two dozen guests invited to sit near the first lady on Tuesday. The guests include several veterans and service members, including one of the three Americans who thwarted an attack aboard a Paris-bound train.
Obama read about Hamo’s story last month. His cancer had gone untreated because he lacked health insurance. More than $450,000 for the family was raised through an online fundraising campaign actor Ed Norton had set up for them. The White House described Hamo as living the kind of life in Syria that is associated with the American dream. He married his college sweetheart, and they built a life together before a missile tore through the complex he helped design and where his family lived.
Obama told Hamo through a Facebook posting that, “Yes, you can still make a difference in the world, and we’re proud that you’ll pursue your dreams here. Welcome to your new home. You’re part of what makes America great.”
While we applaud this effort by Mr. Obama, just imagine how many Hamos have died in Syria because the president refused to arm the moderate opposition to defeat the tyranny of the psychopath Assad.
AP contributed to this report.