Houston opens arms to more refugees than any other U.S. city

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HOUSTON -  In Europe, 400,000 immigrants have crossed the Mediterranean fleeing war and terror in Syria, Afghanistan and other nations.

While nations scour their hearts for room, it`s a concept Houston has down cold.

"Houston takes more refugees than any other city in the United States," said Ali Al Sudani, director of Refugee Services, Interfaith Ministries.

The Mohammed Sheikhhoro family, Kurds from Syria, is among 4,000 who settle in Houston yearly. Houston's economy and diversity is the big draw here.

"Just like I heard about Houston, people are very friendly and when I came here I kissed the land," said Sheikhhoro.

It takes about a year before a refugee ever steps foot in America or on Houston soil. First the candidates undergo security and health checks. It`s a world of difference from those fleeing in terror overseas. They arrive on foot or by boat and their presence is immediate.

"The resettlement in Houston and the U.S. is completely different," said Al Sudani. "We know when they are coming, we screen them before they are coming, we prepare everything for them."

According to Houston data, they are self-sufficient, supporting themselves within six months.

The Houston Refugee Consortium, consisting of seven resettlement organizations, manages the settlement process.  If you'd like to learn more or help with the settlement efforts, visit http://www.IMGH.org to donate or volunteer.