BY ROBIN SHULMAN | PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANNY WILCOX FRAZIER—VII FOR TIME
Just over a year ago, Ghazweh Aljabooli and her husband and five children landed at the Des Moines airport and became the first refugees from Syria’s ongoing civil war to settle in Iowa. In their first summer in America, each step felt momentous.
The first shopping trip to Walmart, the kids playing in a pool and taking the bus to school, all put the horrors of war further behind them—the years without sufficient food, the bombs that destroyed their house and ruined their city of Homs, the month they camped out in the desert at the Jordanian border, trying to escape.
Seven months later, as the family was beginning to acclimate to life in America, President Donald Trump took office and issued an executive order that would prevent more families like them from coming to the United States. As a result, something new crept into the family’s life in their safe haven: fear. “I’m worried they’ll send us back,” Ghazweh said in January, right after Trump’s initial order.
She had heard rumors that Syrian children already in the U.S. would not be able to attend school, and that families could be deported. “We’re so scared we’ll have to go back to the war.”