In February, three years after first fleeing to the United States from Yemen, Labeb Nasher, an Immigrant Justice Corps client at Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) was granted asylum! A few weeks ago, Labeb was featured by The Guardian in a profile about Yemen’s growing refugee crisis. Labeb recently shared with IJC his experience of working with IJC Fellows since his case began in 2016.
Labeb sought asylum in the U.S. based on the persecution he faced from the Houthi militant groups who gained significant power in Yemen following the outbreak of civil war in March 2015.
Labeb learned about Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) through a friend and was relieved to learn the services were free. “When I came to the United States, I was totally broke. When they told me it was going to be free, I was so grateful.”
Over the years, Labeb worked with several IJC Fellows at AAANY. “All of the Fellows are really good and they really care. It’s like having a soldier beside you fighting for you. The process and what you do is really professional. I know the Fellows are freshly graduated but I think you teach them well. You really train them well.”
Of all the Fellows, he worked with Community Fellow Susanna Booth the longest. “Susanna, to be honest, gave me that feeling, you know when someone makes you believe you are safe? You are safe and someone cares about you. And that they will do anything to help you. I got that feeling from her. I was almost crying when her Fellowship ended.”
The day Labeb found out he was granted asylum is a moment he will never forget. “It was the first time in my whole life that I cried. It’s not allowed in my country for the man to cry for any reason. So it was my first time, I couldn’t help myself. It was the greatest moment of my life.”
Labeb, who hasn’t seen his children in four years, is now working with second year Community Fellow Jonathon Burne to petition for his children to join him in the U.S.
“Before I was granted asylum I felt like everything I did in this country could be taken in a moment. It’s totally different now. It’s like a point between two different lives. Now I can say a new life started on Feb 28, 2019.”