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Refugees in Omaha get help applying for green cards

After living in the United States for a year, refugees can apply for a green card -- the first step to becoming a U.S...

Posted: Jun 26, 2018 12:27 PM
Updated: Jun 26, 2018 12:27 PM

After living in the United States for a year, refugees can apply for a green card -- the first step to becoming a U.S. citizen. Sixty refugees living in Omaha got some help Saturday with the process of filling out the necessary paperwork.

Hamud Habane and his family were among those getting help.

Habane and his family fled the civil war in Somalia in 2008.

"When your country is destroyed, and there's civil war where you belong to, and you don't know the reason that people are fighting, that's kind of tough on the family," said Habane's son Mohamed Duale, who was 13 when the fighting broke out.

The family of 12 spent eight years in an Ethiopian refugee camp, before coming to Omaha last January.

"We really like being here and so we don't want to move to another city. We just consider Omaha our hometown," Duale said.

Their family and dozens of others began the path to U.S. citizenship Saturday with the help of Lutheran Family Services.

"We want to make sure there are no barriers to refugees as they take that journey to become citizens," said Lacey Studnicka, the director of LFS advancement.

Dozens of local attorneys volunteered to help refugees fill out the necessary paperwork to apply for green cards.

They offered their services, which normally could cost thousands of dollars, for free.

"Refugees, as newcomers to the country, oftentimes don't have the resources to hire a private attorney to get these legal services," said volunteering attorney Shane Ellison. "And without the expert, guiding hand of council, it's quite possible to make errors."

Errors would delay the process for refugees to receive green cards, and eventually become citizens.

"We've etched it into the base of the Statue of Liberty that the 'huddled masses yearning to breathe free' are welcome in this country," Ellison said .

Having help filing the applications is one of the many opportunities not lost on Habane's family.

"Being here is really a chance," said Duale. "So if you do not take advantage of this chance, then it will not be good for us, and it won't be good for the country."

It's a chance they plan on taking full advantage. Duale is studying at Metro Community College to be a nurse.

The process from refugee to U.S. citizen takes a minimum of five years.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108736

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287201467
Cuyahoga1157922211
Hamilton813971250
Montgomery525481043
Summit484271001
Lucas43353820
Butler39013606
Stark33332929
Lorain25672505
Warren24591303
Mahoning22370603
Lake21207388
Clermont20117253
Delaware18852136
Licking16662222
Fairfield16574204
Trumbull16548482
Medina15610271
Greene15281248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11913239
Richland11605211
Miami10849225
Wayne9141223
Columbiana9032230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8649250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7160179
Hancock6998132
Ross6944161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584549
Lawrence5731102
Jefferson5678158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5348128
Washington5319109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4571112
Madison444266
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432074
Crawford4037110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3855105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359665
Williams348278
Champaign344759
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275265
Henry273467
Holmes2701101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240650
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
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