As the media continues to report news of the opposition against Syrian refugees coming into the U.S., Humans of New York (HONY) — the wildly popular photography project by Brandon Stanton — is proving otherwise. Traveling to Jordan and Turkey, Stanton interviewed Syrian refugee families who have been cleared for resettlement in the U.S — and the response to their heart-wrenching stories has been overwhelmingly positive, attracting the attention of even President Obama, who welcomed a Syrian father on HONY's Facebook page.
According to HONY, the unnamed man, an inventor who lost family members in an air strike in Syria, said he will be going to Troy, Mich. Now battling cancer and unable to work despite his skills, the man told HONY, "I still think I have a chance to make a difference in the world."
Responding from his official Facebook account, Obama wrote:
As a husband and a father, I cannot even begin to imagine the loss you've endured. You and your family are an inspiration. I know that the great people of Michigan will embrace you with the compassion and support you deserve. Yes, you can still make a difference in the world, and we're proud that you'll pursue your dreams here.
While the deluge of comments on any given Humans of New York post is, at this point, expected, these particular stories, told in typical HONY-esque style, humanizes those fleeing violence and persecution in a tumultuous region.
White House officials confirmed with ABC News that the president himself had written the comment.
In what could be seen as a veiled swipe at Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump — who has called for all Muslims to be barred entry into the U.S. — and his "Make America Great Again" slogan, Obama ended the comment saying, "Welcome to your new home. You're part of what makes America great."
It's not the first time Obama has responded to a HONY post — he has done the same in September, commenting on the story of an Iranian father and son. But his reply to the Syrian father holds political weight. Obama is vying for public support for his policy to accept Syrian refugees in a battle against Washington, D.C. lawmakers who have blocked the resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq to the U.S.
Cover image via Facebook / Humans of New York