Following the bloody ISIS attacks in Paris and growing concerns the terror group may try to strike in this country, the debate continues over whether to completely suspend the flow of Syrian refugees into the United States. One young Syrian woman who now calls the Garden State home is hoping that doesn’t happen.

Sandy Khabbazeh, who is now living in Oakland, says she was able to come to New Jersey on a student visa after going through multiple background checks, and she feels confident the American government is checking everyone very carefully.

“They’re not letting any ISIS come to America,” she said. “It’s the opposite of Europe, because Europe opens the border to everybody.”

Sandy Khabbezah, far right, with her father Eskandar, brother George and mother Hasnaa(Photo courtesy of Khabbezeh family)
Sandy Khabbezah, far right, with her father Eskandar, brother George and mother Hasnaa(Photo courtesy of Khabbezeh family)

Khabbazeh says her mother, father, and brother remain in Syria, trying to get out. She said they're trapped in a horrible war that makes no sense, struggling without enough food, water and electricity.

“Because of war every day we have to face like we’re going to die this day, maybe that will be the last time for me. The war stole every dream of any person, there is no future when the war started," she said.

Khabbazeh said she has lost friends and relatives in the conflict, innocent people who had nothing to do with the war.

“All of a sudden because of a bombing or a snipe. It’s horrible. ISIS and the Syrian government are fighting with each other and innocent people die,” she said.

She points out that life in Syria is very different from living in the Garden State.

“When I came here I felt happy. People are nice to me, which I appreciate. I feel so blessed with all the New Jersey citizens,” Khabbazeh said.

But back in Syria “I got electricity for just one hour, from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m.,” she said. “I have to do my laundry, cooking, help my mother clean the house, it’s horrible – sometimes the electricity isn’t strong enough and it will fry the TV, sometimes it’s too strong and it will ruin the fridge.”

Khabbazeh says sometimes at night she would be terrified hearing people screaming, "we’re coming to kill you."

“Sometimes I wake up with my mom and we’re holding each other and wondering, 'Are they coming? Are they killing us? And what kind of killing? Are they chopping our heads? Are they shooting us? It’s horrible," she said.

Khabbazeh said the bottom line is “Syrian refugees want another chance to live, the situation in Syria is unbelievable, we can’t handle it anymore. The Syrian refugee is against ISIS too, the whole world is against ISIS, Syrian refugees have nothing to do with ISIS, they’re killing the people, the Syrians.”

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