SUBHI NAHAS: They just come and take you from your home and they just kill you.
ANNOUNCER: Persecuted at home, four LGBTQ refugees seek asylum in the U.S. MARI: Just because I'm different in my country, why do I have to live this way?
ANNOUNCER: Living in America brings new opportunities and new challenges.
MARI: You know, I don't want to live my whole life hurt, angry.
I don't want to have regrets.
ANNOUNCER: "Unsettled,"on Doc World.
(people shouting in local language) MAN: (shouting continues) JUNIOR (speaking English): It's like... ♪ NAHAS: It just feels difficult to talk about it.
You have to hide not to lose everything.
You'll be targeted from everyone.
Extremists or the government.
Even your family.
They just come and take you from your home and they just kill you.
♪ MARI: Just because I'm different in my country, why do I have to live this way?
I don't hate anyone, I don't steal.
So you think, "What did I do wrong?"
CHEYENNE: Being kicked out by the people you most loves and you trust, I have this anger in my heart.
MARI: That's why you feel like, oh, just leave it.
I'm gonna leave, like... Like a bird.
♪ ♪ ♪ CHEYENNE: No.
MARI: Should I put them here?
- Yeah, but don't... MARI: I was, like, "Oh, my God, "please don't let the plane crash.
"Let me get at least to, to Washington, and see how other continent looks like."
(both laughing) CHEYENNE: We thought, at least here, we're not gonna have, like, people stalking us or following us or throwing rocks or, say-- like, calling us name on the street.
And I think, "This don't happen here in America, right?"
MARI: I'm scared, because I feel responsible for her.
But then she said, "You know, I feel the same way about you.
If you end up on the street, I'll end up, too, it's fine."
- At least we don't... - We are a team, of course.
- At, at least we don't get to, um, be so much persecuted, the way we have been now.
Yeah, we are a team, as you said.
- (quietly): Don't cry.
- (laughs, sniffles) MARI: Sorry, I'm emotional.
♪ MELANIE NATHAN: So, I think we can squeeze this in there or on top of this.
MARI: Yeah, uh, I don't know, I think so.
Let's do it.
- Should-- can we do that?
NATHAN: You're perfectly legal.
There's nothing you're doing that's illegal at all.
You guys have your passports on you, right?
MARI: Yes, I have.
CHEYENNE: Yes, we do.
(video chat ringing) (mouse clicking) FRED HERTZ: Hi, Subhi.
- Any news about your coming here?
- No, not yet.
- Well, you are welcome to stay with us at our house here when you get here.
I'm gonna ask around to friends to help you find a place, hopefully close by here, where you could stay for the first six months or so.
So, actually, something I never asked...
I really didn't know anything about refugees, and I was approached by Jewish Family and Children's Services.
"Would you consider being his sponsor?"
How are you feeling about all of this?
I, I want to, like, get out of here, um, but it's taking too long.
♪ NAHAS: I was always the black sheep, I was always the outcast.
I think most gay people in Syria felt the same-- isolation, the people mocking them.
And it's been a lonely place for 25 years.
(gunfire rattling) ♪ I just could not feel safe, so I did not went out anymore, I did not go to university anymore.
There was huge arguments all the time between me and my father.
He started to argue and shout anti-gay slurs.
All of his anger was directed towards me, and I was so scared, so I pushed him, and he pushed back.
After he pushed me, he just grabbed my head and just smashed it into, uh, the kitchen counter.
(monitor beeping) I was bleeding so much and I couldn't remember exactly how did I get to the hospital.
I decided that I couldn't take this anymore, and I went to Turkey without even looking back.
I decided to come out publicly while I was in Turkey.
The threats started within a few weeks.
They came from an old friend that became affiliated with ISIS.
He told me, to secure his position in paradise, he will make my blood halal, which is, like, "It's okay to kill this person because he's gay."
He escalated his threats and he kept on calling.
More than 30 missed call in half an hour.
He told me that he would justify it by honor crime.
♪ ♪ AIRPORT ANNOUNCER: Attention, please.
For your safety, do not accept the services of anyone who approaches you... NATHAN: I don't think a lot of Americans understand how hard it is to come here, even if you're white, even if you speak perfect English.
What I try and do is help people through the process.
It's mind-boggling how some people manage to do it, but they do it.
Have you seen him at all during that time?
NATHAN: No, just in, I mean... - Oh, my God.
- Just on Skype and Facebook and... - Just Facebook, yeah, yeah.
(baby fussing) JUNIOR: Finally.
After a long, long trip.
WORKMAN: Welcome to America, welcome home.
- Thank you.
- Welcome home.
- Thank you very much.
I just want a space to sit down and start thinking about it now, to start making it a reality now.
JUNIOR (speaking English): I'm, like... Take your time, be patient, no hurry for anything.
But now that you're here, there are a few things we need to do.
We're gonna talk about the house.
WORKMAN: We're gonna take you to get an official number so that you can... People call them Social Security numbers.
A bit of bureaucracy, but everything else comes from that number.
JUNIOR: I managed to get to university...
I was, like... WOMAN: JUNIOR: (chuckling): So... Yeah.
(chuckling): MAN: An internal investigation has begun over the assault by South African police officers of a gay Congolese refugee.
Junior Mayema was beaten by officers after they refused to process a discrimination claim... ♪ JUNIOR: You know.
That I was leaving, and... (people talking in background) WORKMAN: Maybe you shouldn't have lead in your clothes.
Something lighter, rather than the, the lead outfits.
We provide toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning stuff.
Everybody is assigned to a chore, what they do for the house.
We'll get some disinfectant, if you want to wipe everything down.
All across the street, down that way, so if you leave out, go this way.
- Did you catch what he's saying?
For safety, don't go down that way.
- Yeah, just don't go through those projects and stuff.
It's like a totally different world over there.
♪ NATHAN: Home sweet home for three days.
MARI: Oh, my.
Nice to meet you, I'm Mari.
- Hi, Mari, nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you.
- Hi, Cheyenne.
Nice to meet you.
CHEYENNE: Thank you so much for having us.
EARNEST: Okay, so, these are heavy.
NATHAN: When they first contacted me, they said, "We are under siege by our neighbors."
They managed to get a student visa, and it was, like, escape through the night with your one bag.
This is it?
This is the right place.
EARNEST: This is the couch that just pulls out, and it's not big, but you ladies are small, so I think you could fit.
(Mari and Cheyenne laugh) And we have, we have more pillows, so... NATHAN: We have a little bit of food in the bag here.
EARNEST: Okay, we can put that in the fridge.
Uh, I'm going to just put these here.
Let me just put that here.
MARI: The sun, sun is going up, maybe now.
CHEYENNE: The clouds are fighting.
♪ How did we meet?
Tell the story.
CHEYENNE: I was living still with my parents.
There was this gay guy that just moved in, so I was, like, "Oh!
Gay people here, okay."
He said, "Oh, my God, I have to introduce you to this girl.
You guys gonna look so good together."
I was, like, "Don't do that."
MARI: And he was, like, "I have this beautiful girl "you have to meet-- you will love her.
She is your size, she's, she's, like, perfect for you."
And I was, like, "Hmm."
CHEYENNE: So, I was coming down the street and she was standing there.
And then she turned around and... - Ta-da!
We were the same size.
- Yeah, it was really...
It was really like ta-da!
MARI: Of course, you were beautiful.
The way you looked at me.
♪ CHEYENNE: We had to be careful all the time.
Sometimes, I would sneak out of my parents' house and go to her house, because we really wanted to see each other.
And then she had to walk me back.
♪ MARI: I'm tired of people bullying me on the street all the time, and it happened many times.
Imagine how it would feel like.
After all this (bleep) that we went through, we felt like there are no good people in the world.
(phone ringing out) Hi, Pablo, my name is Melanie Nathan.
I have a lesbian couple who've just arrived seeking asylum.
I am trying to help them find a pro bono attorney.
Can I set up a time with you?
Thursday the 8th, 10:00 a.m. Really appreciate it.
All right, take care-- bye-bye.
(keypad tone beeps) We have an appointment.
RADIO ANNOUNCER: San Francisco continues to be one of the most expensive places to live in the country.
Part of the problem is... WOMAN (on intercom): Good morning.
- Hi-- Junior.
- Okay, I'll be down there.
TEACHER: Karina's absent.
Junior, Mary Lou.
Now we're learning numerical filing, okay?
So, who goes first?
(students responding) TEACHER 2: So, let's do this, let's start with Junior.
Why don't you read your problem?
JUNIOR: "I'm facing a serious, "um, housing problem.
What can I do?"
TEACHER: So, what's actually the housing problem?
- Like, where I'm staying now, I'm going to finish next month.
So it's, like, I have to move again.
WOMAN: End of the month?
- The beginning of... - Beginning?
TEACHER: The beginning.
WOMAN: It's already, next week is already the beginning of the month.
WOMAN 2: Next week.
(computer keys clicking, man murmuring) MAN: So, this page is very important.
They talk about all public housing.
Up here's a phone number to call them, and email to answers hud.gov.
- I'm going to contact them.
- Yeah, just ask, you're really urgent.
You need an apartment.
You will not sleep on the street.
God will not do it.
WORKMAN: This is... (suitcase thudding) JUNIOR: Be careful, be careful.
(Workman and Junior murmuring) BETSY: So, this is my husband, Jack.
- And you have my name, Betsy.
I should come up and rearrange the space a little bit.
I couldn't do that before.
(Workman grunts) JUNIOR: So it's like... You know.
WORKMAN: Many of our refugees, they need extra time to become acclimated.
In Junior's case, with the way he looks and presents himself, there's prejudice that he's fighting, and he's had PTSD issues.
He has expressed that he recognizes he drinks, and he shouldn't drink.
♪ (birds chirping) HERTZ: So, Subhi, do you want some coffee?
- Yes, sure.
- Okay, well, tomorrow, I'm gonna take you to the local farmers' market here.
So, they tend to be a little expensive, but it's a scene.
Uh-oh, these went bad.
- Randolph, your dolmas went moldy.
- Yeah, there is a club scene here for late-night parties.
Yeah, we can't, we're not gonna be very helpful to you about that.
(all laugh) We don't know that scene at all, we don't know that scene at all.
One of the things that I hope we can offer is a way of entering into the San Francisco Bay Area gay and Middle Eastern community at a high level, in an interesting way.
So, you've come from places that are not so gay-friendly.
It's not comparable with what's, with here, or other places.
- But in terms of going out at night, or in the streets... - Well, no, you cannot.
If your expression is a little bit effeminate, the police will harass you, the army will harass you.
- Okay, you know, there are these old-fashioned American words.
So, one is called "swish."
- (chuckles) - It meant somebody who walked in a swishy way.
And then there was "nelly."
- Because when I was growing up, "queer" was, like, the most negative word.
- Weird, yeah.
- And then now people use it as being, "I'm hip, I'm beyond gender."
And what's the Arab equivalent?
- There's expressions, but I, I feel very, you know, shy to say them, because they are so rude.
♪ WOMAN: As a refugee, you entitled on some benefits.
Your cash will be in the amount close to $350 per month for eight months.
AMY WEISS: Do you worry about your family, just in terms of what's happening in Syria, like the bombing?
- Well... - And the war there?
- They are influential, so not that... - Are they?
- Yeah, so they, they can manage themselves very well.
- So they're safe.
- But I'm worried about my sister.
Like, she's living alone and she's in the city.
WEISS: All refugees are vulnerable, but LGBT refugees are doubly vulnerable, in that they are leaving their families.
They are not coming as refugees with families, they're escaping their families.
99% of them have experienced trauma, if not torture.
And their communities have rejected them.
NAHAS: It's, like, really scary feeling, like, if you're not gonna fit well with the society.
I don't know, I feel a little bit stressed about the culture, so... WEISS: Well, of course.
(all laugh) What everybody feels as a new refugee.
WOMAN: You just landed here.
I think that you in a better position than many other people because of your language, your skills.
Okay, all right, now just... Yep, just Subhi.
WOMAN: Say, "Yay, America!"
- (laughs) - Look at me, look at me.
Thank you so much.
♪ NAHAS: When I left home, it felt really good at first.
It feels much safer, but sometimes when I wake up, I just get the same feeling.
You're here, you're alone, and... All the things that you lived with and you, you left behind will stay with you, but you cannot go back, no matter how much you miss them.
♪ NATHAN: Look at this.
Look at this.
This is your evidence.
It documents everything that you went through from the time you met me.
This is to help you prepare for the appointment on Thursday.
We're meeting with...
When they first contacted me, their neighbors were writing epithets on the wall, they killed their dog.
There was a man outside their front door masturbating.
"I'm coming in to kill you, I'm coming in to rape you, "we're gonna burn this house down."
Nobody will go to the police because they're scared.
So, what you gonna do?
You gonna fear for your life?
You're not gonna feel safe to go and report something that is happening to you.
NATHAN: You're gonna need more detail.
The asylum person, he's not in your head.
Now, a lot of it's here, but they're gonna want to hear it from you.
CHEYENNE: I moved in with Mari.
Her mother didn't like the situation.
She brought some cooked food for us, so we ate.
In the middle of the night, we woke up sweating, like, with diarrhea, really bad vomiting, and, uh, like, it was real-- we thought, "We will die," because it was really, really bad, really bad.
MARI: It was the same day that she said, "I wish I would leave you for adoption.
I wish you were never born."
Yeah, things like that.
(Mari sniffles) (siren chirping, horns honking) NEIL GRUNGRAS: Mr. Subhi Nahas, welcome.
NAHAS: You're timing?
You can say, "One, two, three," so I can know exactly when you start?
GRUNGRAS: Okay, we start over.
Mr. Nahas, begin.
- "Your excellencies, honored Security Council members, colleagues, and friends, marhaban-- welcome."
GRUNGRAS (more slowly): "Your excellencies, "honored Security Council members, colleagues, and friends."
- Okay, you want me, you want me to actually, uh, talk like this in the... - Yes.
- That would take more than seven minutes.
- Well, you'll get faster.
HERTZ: I ran into my friend who was very involved with lobbying the State Department.
And she said, "Oh, I just got this call "from Samantha Power's office.
"They're looking for somebody who could testify "about the mistreatment of gay people under ISIS and fundamental Islam."
So, I went home and I said, "Hey, Subhi, "how'd you like an all-expense- paid trip to New York?
"All it requires is that you come out as an openly gay person in front of the United Nations."
GRUNGRAS: Okay, from the beginning.
HERTZ: Can I break for a presentation question?
- Does he get to wear his earring?
NAHAS: I'm not sure.
It looks nice with the charcoal suit.
- I think it looks... - Yeah?
- I, I'm in favor of it.
GRUNGRAS: They already know... - Otherwise, you're gonna look a little too straight.
It's a different look, Neil, it's not a formal look.
Put the jacket on.
- We don't need maybe too formal?
HERTZ: He doesn't want to look like a banker.
- Yeah, and I'm, you know, gay?
- You know what, I think... - I'm gay, I have to look gay.
HERTZ: Okay, it's gonna be fine, okay, take off the jacket, and I'll take it down and have them... GRUNGRAS: This is a completely different level of exposure.
This is the U.N. Security Council.
And I said to him, "Do you understand that this may expose you to a fatwa?
Do you understand how dangerous this is?"
And he said, "Yes, I understand.
"I'm doing this for other people.
"I'm doing this so that this road is safer for people who come after me."
(siren chirps, horns honk) Wow.
GRUNGRAS: Is there simultaneous interpretation, or is there... - There will be interpretation in ear, people's earpieces.
- That's good, okay.
- Yes, good.
(whispers): There's no air conditioning here.
SAMANTHA POWER: Hi.
NAHAS: Hi, pleasure to meet you.
- Pleasure to meet you, as well.
- Thank you so much for coming and being here.
It's really, really important.
- Thank you for inviting me.
- Hi, Neil Grungras.
- Hi, good to meet you.
- It's a pleasure.
Do you have any questions about the session or anything?
NAHAS: No, I don't.
I cannot think of any question at the moment.
POWER: How does it feel for you to be here at the U.N.?
- Uh, very nervous.
- What are you nervous about?
- Everything today-- the speech, meeting you... - (laughs) - The speech, yeah.
- That's okay, we got that out of the way.
Hundreds of years from now, people will look back on this, and they will think it's a, a historic step that you took, and your family will, will be very proud.
It may, may take some of them some time, but, uh... NAHAS: Yeah.
- That's how, that's how history gets made.
So... We haven't really played up your family history, your story-- we didn't want to... NAHAS: Yeah.
- You know, cause any particular danger to anybody who's living behind... (people talking in background) GRUNGRAS: If you get scared or nervous, make eye contact with Fred, okay?
NAHAS: Oh, my God.
(inhales deeply) My name is Subhi Nahas.
I'm a refugee, and I am gay.
I'm here to recount to you what I experienced and witnessed as a gay man in my country.
In the name of all vulnerable refugees, I urge you to heed this plea.
(audience applauding) LGBT is not just a terminology invented by the West itself, but there is an LGBT community in the Middle East and in Africa, and they stand together, and they want their right, too.
I'm gonna fall down.
- No, you're not.
You're gonna be fine-- you can hold on.
- It's not about this, it's about, I need coffee and water.
(laughs) - Okay, we'll get you that.
- It's okay, it's okay.
- Yeah, I know.
It was really, I did not expect it to go this well.
HERTZ: So this is very cool.
Look at this.
HERTZ: Greenwich Village was always the center of gay life in New York.
NAHAS: Everyone seems like a hippie.
- So you heard of Stonewall?
- Yes, sure.
That the police used to raid it all the time, and then one day, the gay men said, "Oh, that's enough."
A very simple place.
- Yeah, it's very simple, but... - And it still, it still exists.
HERTZ: And what country are you from?
MAN: I am from Pakistan.
HERTZ: You're from Pakistan?
- Yes, sir.
HERTZ: And you're from Mauritania?
HERTZ: Yeah, and he's from Syria.
- This is a multicultural place.
HERTZ: This is the new America, right?
♪ (crowd cheering and applauding) CHRIS MATTHEWS: Donald Trump, he wants to send back...
He promises to send back all the refugees.
All of them go home if he gets elected, he says that.
And here he is, just moments ago, making that point.
TRUMP: I'm putting the people on notice, if I win, they're going back.
They're going back, I'm telling you.
(crowd cheering) They're going back.
MAN: Go ahead.
WOMAN: Thank you.
WOMAN: Good morning.
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, may I help you?
We're open from 9:00 to 4:00, Monday through Friday.
NATHAN: How are you feeling?
- Much better.
How are you doing, darling?
CHEYENNE: Oh... NATHAN: "Why did you come to the United States?
"Does your government or any other organization "wish to harm you?
Explain who has harmed you or wants to harm you, and why."
MAN: Once they apply for asylum, the work permit takes about three months to get processed.
NATHAN: Um, they have no means of survival whatsoever.
They're couchsurfing right now.
They literally have, maybe, $190 on you?
How long do you estimate it would take to find them an attorney through you?
It could be, you know, weeks or maybe even months before we found an attorney for you guys.
Um, that's just the nature of the, the process.
(gull crying) MARI: I think all this asylum process is very intense.
For six months, you can't work.
You can't support yourself.
And you're a grown-up person, so it's bad.
JUNIOR: You see, it's my mother.
And then... NANCY RYND: My concerns with Junior and with many of the students is that they are not realistic about what is required in a workforce as sophisticated as San Francisco.
I know that his focus is to work with the LGBT community.
I also know that that is a pretty competitive arena.
It's not a job that he's just gonna be able to walk in, and say, "Well, here I am."
(cheering) Giants Dog?
- Giants Dog, Nacho Grande.
WOMAN: We wanted salsa.
- It comes with the chips, right?
- Oh, we... sorry.
Is that-- sorry, is that possible to add hot pepper?
(sighs): Sorry, sad for me.
I'm sorry, my God.
playing in background) (Junior yelps) Maybe if I put it like this.
(murmuring) (chuckles): It is tough.
(people talking in background) MAN: I'll get it next door.
(bat hits) (crowd cheering) ♪ GRUNGRAS: I met Subhi in Turkey, and then later on, when we needed somebody to do some work, I turned to Subhi for help.
And I realized that we had a gem.
We had a gem on our hands.
NAHAS: Thank you so much.
Have a good-- you, too.
Without the help of my sponsor, I would never get an apartment anywhere.
Because they will ask you for so many things, like credit score, which we don't have.
Without Fred, I would not ever get a house in San Francisco.
Bulgur is thicker than this.
It doesn't look like this, usually.
- I'm sure it'll be ace.
- It smells good.
- It does, because the lentil and the bulgur together... - That already makes it better.
(chuckles) - Can I use the onions?
- All right, I'm trying something new.
I don't know much about the refugee situation.
I didn't know anything about Syria before, really.
I don't think I knew anything at all.
- I don't think you knew where it, it was... - I didn't, I didn't know where Syria was, yeah.
I don't know why, but in my mind, the word "refugee" has a negative connotation.
Like, I think I was raised thinking that was a bad thing.
Look who this guy is.
- Oh, well, that's me, I know.
(both chuckling) GRUNGRAS: Sometimes LGBT refugees don't want to come out, even after they're safe, because they don't want to harm their family back home.
He's getting email messages and Facebook messages from all over the world, saying, "We're looking to you to lead us, you're our voice."
NAHAS: Chairman Johnson, ranking members of the committee, thank you for offering me the honor and the opportunity to be here today to share my story.
MANDALIT DEL BARCO (on phone): Hi, Subhi, this is Mandalit del Barco with NPR News.
You know, coming from a place where I cannot talk about it at all, to a place where I'm sharing it with the world, it opened whole, like, other doors.
ANNOUNCER: Give it up for your grand marshal, Subhi Nahas, we love you, honey, happy Pride!
NAHAS: So thank you for this tremendous honor-- thank you.
(crowd cheering and applauding) ♪ (crowd cheering and applauding) WOMAN: It is my sincere pleasure to introduce this year's International Trailblazer, Mr. Subhi Nahas.
♪ And I run from wolves ♪ Ooh ♪ Breathing heavily ♪ At my feet ♪ And I run from wolves ♪ Ooh ♪ Tearing into me Thank you so much.
The LGBT community is a global one, and our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, and elsewhere, need to know that we stand with them.
(crowd cheering and applauding) (people talking in background) (cameras clicking) MAN: One second.
WOMAN: Great, and do you mind, Subhi, if we just get one of you solo?
- Okay, great.
Can you start right over here in the middle?
Awesome, all right.
All right, so we're gonna get a straight solo shot, please.
(people talking in background) MAN: We're just, we're doing a solo shot.
(people talking in background) WOMAN: Okay, great, thank you so much.
♪ MAN: Okay, now we're done.
MAN: You're done, you're done.
♪ (pigeons cooing) (people talking and laughing in background) WOMAN: You speak French, right?
- Yeah, of course.
(both speaking French) WOMAN: So let me ask you a question.
Are you gay or are you straight?
- That is a personal question.
- (laughing) No, San Francisco, we don't care.
You know, but, like, you should still come do your hair here.
You're, like, "That (bleep) is so nosy."
(laughs) You like white men?
JUNIOR: Um, I don't discriminate.
- Okay, but you like white men with money.
If you're gonna go out of your race, get some money, huh?
(laughing) ♪ WORKMAN: I'm Galen, glad to meet you.
MIKE: Will you allow me to buy you a glass of wine?
WORKMAN: Oh, sure, thank you.
- What kind of wine were you having?
(people talking in background) WORKMAN: I was trying to figure out what Junior was looking for in a guy.
Meeting Mike, it was pretty clear that this type of stability was something that Junior was looking for.
But when it came out a few weeks later that Junior was going to move in with Mike, one of the questions I had is, was it too early?
♪ JUNIOR: MIKE: The lights come on, there's a timer.
JUNIOR: It's beautiful.
MIKE: I see people that I haven't seen in five years that are just a mess-- a gay-party-every-night thing.
And you just see so many people just kind of lose themselves in it.
And then they mess up their future, their career.
And then, there's just a decline.
♪ (liquid pouring) MIKE: Cheers, happy Friday.
We'll go out, dance a little bit, and then come sleep.
It's, uh, it's only 5:00, so...
JUNIOR: This, uh, your face is so smooth.
(both chuckle) MIKE: I try to do the skincare.
Being the old man.
WOMAN: Thank you, salud.
WOMAN 2: Salud.
MIKE: Another Sunday in paradise.
WOMAN: That's right.
♪ I really love this.
- This looks so different, you know?
- I just want to make sure you love each one.
- Okay, we'll get this.
Oh, my God!
- You have very good taste.
(chuckles) - Let me see that.
(groans) (trolley bell dinging) KATHLYN QUERUBIN: The first thing that we're going to do is fill out an I-589, and that's the form for applying for asylum.
We're going to submit a declaration from each of you, and it might take a few interviews in order to make sure that we have all the information that we need.
I don't have an exact timeline for you.
Um, other clients of the firm have had to wait a year or longer.
(woman inhales sharply) QUERUBIN: After we met Mari and Cheyenne, we had to think through their story.
The applicant has to show a well-founded fear of persecution.
There's not a whole lot of press that comes out of Angola about the treatment of the LGBT community, so the applicant's own testimony can be sufficient to support their claim, if the testimony is credible.
The way the interview's gonna go is kind of gonna depend on which asylum officer you get.
Asylum officers have different styles.
Some may be a little bit interrogation-like.
Let's say they start asking really intimate questions, like, can, do we have the right to say, "We're not gonna answer that"?
I'm, I doubt that that will come up, but, you know, if... Like I said, I'm going to be in the room with you, but at the end of the day, this is your story.
And I can't tell it for you.
♪ MARI: Baby, you done?
CHEYENNE: What do you want, baby?
- (chuckles): I want to use the restroom.
People think that refugees or asylum seekers are...
I'm not gonna say criminals, but they don't understand what it is.
It's even harder when you come from Africa, because people think you're coming from the bushes.
♪ The world is easy 'cause you and I exist ♪ ♪ The reason you define with every word you speak ♪ ♪ I know your world is I so I need you to see ♪ ♪ You gotta wake up now, you gotta get up now ♪ ♪ I'm strong 'cause I came from desire ♪ ♪ My heart is built out of fire ♪ CHEYENNE: I always had this connection with music.
It's a good therapy for me.
For both of us.
(instrumental section playing) (instrumental section playing more slowly) (Cheyenne vocalizing) BOTH: ♪ I'm strong 'cause I came from desire ♪ ♪ My heart is built out of fire ♪ CHEYENNE: ♪ I've come from the centuries of light ♪ ♪ Gotta wake up now ♪ You gotta get up now CHEYENNE: She really knows how to deal with me.
And she's always there when I need.
And a lot of things.
- Drives me crazy, but... - I'm happy to know that.
- What can you do?
- Oh, look who's talking!
Like you don't drive me crazy.
- What can you do?
Like you don't drive me crazy.
You think you don't drive me crazy.
(Madonna's "Ray of Light" playing) Subhi, can you sit?
Can you sit down?
NAHAS: When you're behind the scenes your entire life, and then, all of a sudden, the whole world want to hear about your story...
It was overwhelming.
♪ I don't want to put masks and look happier than what I feel.
I've been receiving a lot of messages.
The most recent was from a guy who's still in Syria.
He was telling me how lucky I am.
He's willing to do anything, like, really, literally anything to be out.
To be honest, I did not reply to him.
(people shouting, guns firing) NAHAS: It's like a dream.
It's so far away that it feels unreal.
(man shouting) NAHAS: My family's still there.
And no matter what they've done to me, they're still my family.
At any moment, they could all die, and I cannot help.
♪ I've been struggling with depression.
Sometimes it gets beyond control.
HERTZ: So, have you heard from your parents?
- How are they?
- They're fine, I mean, I heard from my mom only, but Dad doesn't at all... - I know, but are they saying they're safe?
- Yes, they are.
There's lots of bombings, lots of aircraft.
Today my brother almost got killed.
- What happened?
- Shrapnel almost went through his back, but the laptop just saved him, because there's a laptop there, so the shrapnel just hit the laptop and broke it.
- Wait, you're kidding.
(people talking in background) Wait... - You don't have to... (man laughing) MAN: Happy Thanksgiving.
And there's some salmon.
♪ NAHAS: I'm thankful for being here in the States, and for being alive.
And for being among friends this night here.
MAN: Here comes the salmon.
(people talking in background) Here comes the salmon.
(people clapping in background) ♪ JUNIOR: I was starting to really love him.
I told him, "I don't know why you are asking me to move right now; where do you want me to go?"
He just told me, "No.
Everything is over, and I just want you to move, so..." (man speaking Spanish) VOLUNTEER: See, this is a contraption that you can hang some of your clothes in.
(man speaking Spanish) VOLUNTEER: Okay, and January, he will not have time to do the insulation, so you will need the heater.
(man speaking Spanish) VOLUNTEER: Yeah, he's gotta put a little bit of something to make it close.
MAN (in Spanish): VOLUNTEER (in Spanish): MAN: You like?
VOLUNTEER: So, Junior, are you interested in making the decision today to take the room?
I don't think we should be talking about it right now.
We'll reach out to... VOLUNTEER: All right, we have to let him know soon.
(volunteer speaking Spanish) ♪ JUNIOR: I'm getting tired of all of this.
VOLUNTEER: Moving around, huh?
JUNIOR: That's why people think I have problem, or I have drinking problem.
It's not, it's about-- I've lived with you.
Did you see me drinking any drink?
I don't wanna carry a lot.
VOLUNTEER: You can keep some of your frozen things here, Junior.
The freezer section of that fridge is pretty small.
JUNIOR: It's just going to fit.
(volunteer speaks in Spanish) (dog barking) VOLUNTEER: There it is, careful.
(speaks Spanish) Help him, Junior, help him.
JUNIOR: This refrigerator is very small.
(volunteer and man speaking Spanish) VOLUNTEER: If you don't like the Virgin or the other one, he'll take it.
(man counting in Spanish) VOLUNTEER: The check will come from our church for this month, February 9 to March 9.
And then on March 9, it's up to him.
JUNIOR: I take over.
VOLUNTEER: He takes over, all right.
(clattering) (people talking in background) ♪ (clears throat) CHEYENNE: Don't drop me!
Oh, my God, this is getting too high.
(both laugh) - Oh!
CHEYENNE: You can do it, yay.
(chuckles) MARI: You know, I don't wanna live my whole life hurt, angry.
I don't wanna have regrets.
And the best lesson was not being angry and get revenge.
The lesson was to make things happen.
WOMAN: Are you ready?
♪ (camera beeps) PHOTOGRAPHER: One, two, three.
MARI: Come on!
WOMAN: You got it.
- I did it.
MARI: Back in Angola, I could never put a foot out of my house alone, 'cause I would get harassed.
♪ I'm happy here, you know?
I feel free, I can walk by myself.
It's like I woke up from a nightmare.
REPORTER: A lot more rural voters did turn out here.
27% of the vote in Michigan was rural... REPORTER: Donald Trump was confident that what he was feeling and sensing in those primaries was something that people were not registering in these polls.
CALEB: Okay, so I get the best ones, right?
Do you have it, Subhi?
NAHAS: Yeah, I'm just so cold.
(both chuckle) NAHAS: I feel like a penguin.
CALEB: Well, I thought he was very cute, and he has a very endearing way of speaking, too.
Kind of with his accent.
- You understand that I'm still assimilating, and you're being very patient with that.
- You don't mind watching my Star Trek episodes.
- (laughs) - It's sometimes really boring.
- You're welcome.
♪ That's where I went to school and, like, that's where my mom lives and everything.
This is Lake Michigan.
- Oh, it's Lake Michigan.
I thought it's a sea.
So, we're going by the lake or by the... - (laughs): The sea?
- I didn't know.
I have no idea about the geography there.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Big smiles, little bear.
(Caleb laughs) CALEB: Should we have worn, like, orange, so we don't get shot by deer hunters?
(both laugh) CASHIER: $7.25, please.
CALEB: Wait, are you still called The Woolly Bugger?
- Uh, no.
- Did they change the name?
- It hasn't been The Woolly Bugger for about, like, five years.
♪ CALEB: I never had the opportunity to bring a "friend"... (chuckles) with me for the holidays.
My family's always been very conservative.
My mother supports Trump.
You know what, my mom would love The Last Supper.
(people talking in background) CALEB'S DAD: So, are you going to school?
NAHAS: Uh, I finished school, but I'm looking for opportunities.
I want to maybe study some kind of international affairs, a master's degree or something.
- Oh, yeah, that'd be cool.
I was wondering, did you, um, Uh... were, were you a...
Were you a refugee?
I'm still a refugee.
- (laughing) You're still a refugee!
- Did not yet change my status.
-CALEB'S DAD: You know, the so-called terrorists.
They're the ones that are making a name for themselves, and making a bad name for everybody else.
There's bad Syrians, just like there's a bad American.
CALEB'S DAD: So, did you make it over here by yourself?
- All by yourself?
- So, you're alone.
I'm lonely and alone.
♪ NAHAS: Mm-hmm, that's so cute.
(laughing, talking in background) CALEB: It's a dark green, and she put, like, a white glitter on top.
NAHAS: You can touch anything you want.
- Mm, want to try?
- Yeah, yes.
Mmm... (chuckles) CALEB: I think they're pretty dry now.
NAHAS: Yeah, they are.
♪ CALEB: Black, like, right here.
(people talking in background) ♪ NAHAS: Your family, after all, should be the safe place that you go to.
My sister reached out to me.
I want to reconnect with her, because she's the closest person to me.
Aleppo is becoming more perilous, and she's not feeling safe.
I'm trying to organize for her a way to get out.
Not to fear for her life daily.
REPORTER: The Trump Administration is slashing the number of refugees the U.S. will admit to a new record low.
STEVE KING: It's very clear: Congress has granted the president the authority to determine who comes and who goes from the United States of America, with the security interests of America in mind.
WOMAN: The U.S. is taking a step backwards when it comes to humanitarian crises.
PROTESTERS (chanting): Shame!
MAN: There are people in this country who don't agree with the actions of our government, and that we support people who are trying to come here, just like my ancestors did, just like so many of our ancestors did.
SHEILA JACKSON LEE: This is probably the worst time in American history as it relates to, uh, the rights of immigrants.
JUNIOR: Hello, is that Peter?
I say, I'm outside.
PETER (on phone): Why don't you ring the (bleep) doorbell?
- I did ring.
I just want to get my stuff.
- Oh, do you know what I want back?
- The ring.
- Oh, okay.
- By the way, when you left, you left that door unlocked completely.
Hello, my name is Junior.
I need a taxi for Christopher Drive.
It just has to stop.
I have to reach a point where I have a stable place to stay and a stable relationship with someone who is not someone who want to just have sex with you and leave.
I just want a place to live.
I don't want to be homeless.
(people shouting in distance) MAN: I put your name on the waiting list.
MAN: - Uh-huh.
- And today is May 12, 2017.
- So it's only for one night, and just a bed.
- All right.
And what's going to happen, like, after tomorrow?
- (speaking English): JUNIOR: Oh, my God.
MAN: WOMAN: Little...
WOMAN: This section is a gender- nonconforming section, so you have males, females, people who don't identify as either sex.
- The section next to you here... - Mm-hmm.
- ...is female section only.
- Oh, okay.
- And then the section here is male section only.
So, just stay in your section, just to respect everyone.
- I'm a little bit shy.
(chuckles) The showers are gonna be here, so you'll see them later.
- Oh, okay.
- All right.
Thank you so much.
- Not too scary?
- Not too scary?
- It's a little bit different, but...
I don't know.
I don't know what to do.
I cannot cook, I cannot...
I have to take my medication every day, I have to do this...
I have to go all the time over there to check in, I have to... (sighs): Oh, God.
I'm thinking about, "What can I do?"
Hello, this is Junior Mayema.
(beeping, lock clicks) The day before yesterday, I was feeling suicidal, like, you know, I'm, I'm a person living with H.I.V., and being outside, homeless.
I just want, like, a short-term place to stay.
I'm not stable right now.
- This is an awkward time of, of the month to try to do that, and most of the places are not what you call prime properties.
They're in the Tenderloin, they're on 6th Street.
- So, we will do what we can.
♪ ♪ Silent night ♪ Holy night (siren wails) ♪ All is calm ♪ All is bright ♪ Round yon virgin ♪ Mother and Child JUNIOR: Thank you.
- Thank you.
♪ Holy infant ♪ So tender and mild (TV playing indistinctly) ♪ Sleep in heavenly ♪ Peace ♪ Sleep in heavenly peace (dog barking) QUERUBIN: "You and your form I-589 "have been scheduled at your request "for interview as shown below.
"Failure without good cause to appear for interview "or to provide a competent interpreter will result "in immediate referral to an immigration judge, and you'll be ineligible for employment authorization."
It's going to be the three of us and the asylum officer.
It is okay to show emotion, I mean, what you're talking about is so difficult, and it's perfectly okay to do that.
If you need to take a break, if you need to just say, "I need to calm down, I need to collect myself, I need to get a drink of water," totally fine to, to ask for that break.
- I'm sorry, I'm already emotional.
(clears throat) - Totally, I, I understand.
We'll bring some water with us, I'll bring some Kleenex.
(laughing) - Thanks.
Yeah, well... What can you do?
- Yeah, I know.
- That is life.
QUERUBIN: If the asylum officer finds that they're not eligible for asylum, they are placed in removal proceedings.
I think that they have an incredibly compelling case, and that they deserve asylum, and I would be devastated if they didn't get it.
(Mari sniffles) It's like I'm a crybaby.
CHEYENNE: You are a crybaby.
- I am a crybaby.
- You're my crybaby.
- (chuckles) (sighs) Ah.
It's gonna be fine.
MARI: You look nervous.
- I'm screaming on the inside.
- (chuckles): I know.
♪ (thunder rumbling) NAHAS: My sister's traveling today out of Syria to Lebanon.
I'm very nervous and anxious about what might happen.
We expect her to face a lot of checkpoints.
It's a very dangerous road.
It's her first-ever experience out of the country, and she has nobody and she knows no one.
It will take her at least 15 to 19 hours to get the border.
Until she's on the other side, there's always a chance that something could go wrong and...
It makes me feel, like, really nervous.
(thunder rumbles) (dog barking in distance) WOMAN: Let me just show you the bedroom, and then I'll feed the dogs.
- All right, so, come.
JUNIOR: At 7:00, we go together to the meditation.
- Yeah, my sponsor runs that meeting.
- Oh, that's great.
- And she's wonderful.
- October 4 is going to be one month since I'm not on the drinking.
- So, good.
- Since then, I've never put any alcohol in my mouth.
- Okay, so that's great.
JUNIOR: If I drink, then I forget everything that I'm going through, and then the next morning, the same thing will come back, and I will be jittery, I will be nervous.
It was gradually taking me down.
(speaking English): You know, not having people to talk to.
You have friends that you meet.
And I don't have that.
- So, it's, it's...
So, I think you're experiencing something that a lot of people experience, because in some ways, we want someone to rescue us.
And, you know, and, and, "Don't you know I'm in pain?
JUNIOR: You know... You don't have to judge me, you know?
You should be proud that I'm still alive and I'm resilient after everything that I've been through.
(people talking in background) Everyone's rooting for you guys today.
- Thank you.
QUERUBIN: ...waiting in line?
WOMAN: Yeah, this is the 1:00 line.
NATHAN: So, this is, like, a decision line or something?
Everyone here... - Everyone here is for decisions?
- Is for a decision of some kind.
MAN: It's 12:30.
Please have your appointment letter ready and valid I.D.
Please follow me.
NATHAN: You were denied?
- I'm sorry to hear that.
(speaking indistinctly) (laughs) NATHAN: Tell me.
QUERUBIN: So, it's a recommended approval.
- (laughs) NATHAN: Well done.
- Oh, Melanie.
CRISTIANO (on phone): I'm so proud of you guys.
I have no words to describe... - Aww... -...how proud I am, trust me.
- You were trying to fight for something that, in my mind, was impossible.
Because you believed in your love, you believed in yourselves, you will inspire younger generations.
It's my day.
(laughs, sniffles) MARI: I take you, Cheyenne, as my wife for the rest of my life.
I promise to be faithful till the day I die.
(speaking Portuguese) - (quietly): Yeah.
JUDGE: With the exchange of these rings, I can happily say you're wife and wife.
Partners for life.
You are officially married.
(others cheering, applauding) Ooh.
♪ NAHAS: Finally, thank God, it's the last day in the Middle East.
She has a new chance.
This, and like that.
I haven't seen my family in seven years, but her, maybe in, like, eight, or, like, in a long time.
WOMAN: Oh, thank you so much.
NAHAS: No, thank you for everything that you've done.
Without you, this would've not happened at all.
MAN: Well, that's...
There's an old phrase, "pay it forward."
So this is paying it forward.
- Thank you.
Thank you so much.
- Yeah, my pleasure.
- (sniffles, sighs) Wow.
WOMAN: She's here.
NAHAS: She's here?
- That's her.
(sister crying) ♪ ♪ NAHAS: Thank you all for coming and making the time.
This meeting will be focused mostly on us trying to find partners who... (phone ringing out) JUNIOR'S MOM: Hello?
JUNIOR: Hello, Mama.
(speaking foreign language) - (babbling in electronically altered voice) - Oh, my God.