Hundreds of refugee families live in Tampa Bay area

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With the help of the organization "Radiant Hands," nearly 300 refugee families have found safe shelter and a new home in Tampa Bay.

The Al Jajea family has been living in Tampa since fleeing war-torn Syria several years ago.

"Life has changed completely. In Syria, education is not as good as here. When [we] decided to come here,
it was all for the sake of [the] family, for the sake of [the] children, in order to educate them," said Mohammad Al Jajea, with the help of Arabic translator Zeyad Abdul Jaber.

Al Jajea, along with his wife and four children, left Syria for Jordan, where they lived for nearly a year before coming to the United States just over one year ago.

All of their family was not able to make the original journey with them, incluidng Al Jajea's 65-year-old mother and his wife's parents and siblings.

Their extended family members, mostly scattered between Jordan, Turkey and Germany, were in the process of obtaining US Visas at the time President Trump enacted the 90-day travel ban, barring immigrants from seven natons, including Syria, from entering the U.S.

"They were shocked with this news, because they were hoping to come here and live much better than their life now," said Al Jajea's wife Lobana Saman.

The family is hoping to continue the vetting process once the 90-day executive order expires, but they are worried about the uncertainty that could follow.

Al Jajea said, "[I] respect any decision that the President or the goverment makes, but on the other hand, [I] hope that they will change the decision, in order to allow more people to join their families and their friends."

He described life in Syria is difficult and dangerous. Being able to offer his children a safe place to go to school was his main objective in leaving.

All four children ranging in age from 14 to 3, have learned English since living in Tampa.

Falak, 12, said she has big aspirations of becoming a doctor one day.

"When we were in Syria, I didn't go a lot to school. I only went to first grade, because there was war," said Falak. "When you go to school here, you learn better and you can get a business. You can work. You can be anything you want."

Officials with Radiant Hands estimate that 1,000 refugee individuals they would have been able to assist during the three-month span of the executive order will be affected by the change.