Syrian refugee families in Jersey City highlight growing migrant crisis

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Toni Yates spoke with families in Jersey City who fled their homes in Syria. (WABC)

There are families in New Jersey who know exactly what thousands of Syrian refugees are going through right now, and that's because they escaped the country themselves, paying smugglers to get them out.

Before you judge, what would you endure to make sure your children stay alive and safe? The two sets of parents fled their homes in Syria a few years ago when bombs and missiles became nearly non-stop.

"And there was a lot of crying, people dying, a lot of houses next to us destroyed," said one of the parents, who wished not to be identified. "If we would have stayed in our house, we would have died. Our house was destroyed."

Mahmoud Mahmoud runs the Jersey City office of the charity Church World Service's Refugee Resettlement Program. He interpreted the stories of the treacherous journeys to escape war, like hiring smugglers to get to desert crossings.

"They put us in a pickup truck," one of the refugees said. "Twenty families for two hours, children not allowed to cry."

They walked for hours with their kids, over mountain ranges and crossing dangerous seas.

"They put us on boats for 10, 15 people," one of the refugees said. "But put 50 on board. this is sinful. sorry."***)

Church World Service is helping four refugee families resettle in Jersey City, holding their hands through the process to give them the best opportunity to make their new home situation work.

CWS needs and graciously accepts donations of household items, everything needed to make a home or help with jobs, apartments or enrolling the kids in school.

"So when they come, they have what's needed to get on their feet and start their lives," Mahmoud said.

The families say the crisis is depressing. They have family still caught in war, with not enough help.

"We are thankful to the west that stood by us," one of the refugees said. "The arab countries should have should have opened their doors and not allowed us to cross the sea."

They see so many dying, trying to be free as they are now.
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syriaJersey City
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