Burning in the melting pot

On December 1, 2016, Iman Alshehab, a mother and grandmother, arrived in Baltimore City alone. 

Iman is one of the last Muslim refugees to be resettled in the U.S. before the 2017 Trump Administration’s Muslim Ban, which targeted refugees seeking resettlement from majority-Muslim countries, including her homeland: Syria. 

U.S. resettlement is considered a “golden ticket” in the American parable of the refugee experience. However, the systemic barriers and personal struggles that one encounters after resettlement are often just as complicated and heart-wrenching, yet hardly misunderstood. Decreasing numbers of refugees admitted to the U.S. have led to further depletion of resources for the resettled refugee community.

While Iman’s life has improved in some ways, she has taken on a whole new set of struggles and complications. Her layered story is one of many that have gone unexamined in the over-simplified and glamorized narrative of refugee resettlement in the United States.