…Of the refugees the UNHCR deals with, it only recommends 1 percent for resettlement to another country. Refugees state their preference; the countries decide whether they’ll accept.
Because he already spoke the language, Hass said he preferred an English-speaking country, “I don’t want to waste time learning a new language.”
He was told someone would contact him in the next 40 days. “I had no idea what’s going on,” he said. “I was just waiting.”
No country is taking in refugees, he was told. He’d just have to wait.
Hass took up baking, just to take his mind off the agonizing wait. He became very good at it. If he was invited to a dinner, he’d bake. If he was going to a birthday party, he’d bake.
Finally, on a July morning in 2015 — almost a full year after he left Tripoli — a phone call woke him up. “Hello, this is the resettlement office from the American Embassy,” the voice said.
The embassy asked him to bring in contact information of anyone he knew in the US. He immediately remembered Andrew Solomon, a New York Times writer he met in Libya in 2005.
“For some reason, I kept his business card all these years in my wallet,” said Hass. “When I got that, I checked my wallet and I emailed him.”
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