They came to escape lives of poverty, the collapse of their governments, kidnappings and gang rapes. Their journeys were fraught with danger, heartbreak, frustration, but most of all, determination to provide their families with better lives.They once called themselves refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants. Today, they call themselves Americans.
“They come from completely explosive homeland and they’re here because they want freedom,” said Lauren Crowder, who teaches citizenship classes at the Center for Refugees and Immigrants. “It’s humbling and inspiring.”
Since 2003, at least 13,821 immigrants completed that journey to become United States citizens in the Nashville area, according to data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Countries such as Egypt, India and Iraq are the most common countries of origin, though a sizable number of immigrants came from Mexico as well.