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A New Start In Portland, ME For African Asylum Seekers

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It's the central theme of the American narrative: the journey of impoverished, oppressed immigrants to this country in search of security, prosperity and a better life for their children. It's a big part of what makes America what it is, and in a nation chock full of immigrants, it ought not be a controversial subject.

Jean Garcia Mabaka Yangu has lived that narrative, traveling from his native Democratic Republic of Congo through South America, Mexico and Texas to finally land in Portland, Maine. He fled endemic violence in his home country to complete this harrowing trip, escaping with his four children, part of a recent wave of Congolese asylum seekers.

Thankfully, the city of Portland has historically been a welcoming one. Although there have been some problems with capacity–a sports facility has been repurposed as a temporary shelter–city officials are doing all they can to keep pace. And new arrivals like Mabaka Yangu and Djodjo Didi say they are deeply grateful. “I am afraid to go back to Congo," Didi told reporters.

To learn more, check out the recent feature story in The Boston Globe.

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