November-December 2012

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SYRIANS UNDER FIRE Seeking Asylum in America by Nadeen Aljijakli 18 VOICE A women and children. Since the start of the conflict in March 2011, there has been, unsurprisingly, a growing number of Syrian asylum applicants. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reported that 566 Syrian nationals applied for asylum between January 2011 and August 2012, not including applications filed defensively in immigration court,2 those impacted by the Syrian revolution—the nationwide uprising against the Assad regime and its brutal crackdown on the opposition—which has claimed the lives of more than 30,000 Syrians,1 including countless applications filed in 2010. Of the 441 applications that were filed between January 2012 and August 2012, 65 percent were approved. During this time, the highest number of applications were filed with the Los Angeles and Newark asylum offices. On March 29, 2012, USCIS announced that Syria would be added to the small list of countries designated compared to 36 n IT professional. A physician. A mother of six. A college student. What do these individuals have in common? They are Syrian asylum applicants in the United States. They represent the diverse faces of

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