Refugees face harassment on city buses, seek funds for transportation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For many, riding the bus is a daily routine. Many immigrants in Albuquerque use them too, to get around.

“People are really being harassed and it’s not safe anymore, especially for girls and women, from the countries where they wear the hijab,” Nkazi Sinandile.

She said the harassment happens everyday on city buses, targeting immigrants like her.

“There are some people who really don’t want us here,” said Sinandile.

She said the harassment became much worse after President Donald Trump’s travel ban and crackdown on illegal immigrants.

“It’s very scary to me for the first time that anybody can come and try to do something bad to us,” she said.

Sinandile works with people at the Immigrant and Refugee Resource Village of Albuquerque, and she’s the director of the New Mexican Women’s Global Pathways.

At the center, the immigrants take classes in English, sewing, gardening and even do custodial work. Sinandile said recently a refugee shared her story about an incident at a city bus stop.

“Yelled about the hijab, and says ‘go back where you came from,'” said Sinandile.

Although a resolution was passed Tuesday making Bernalillo County immigrant friendly, Sinandile worries that it won’t help.

“That makes the people who hate refugees and immigrants to hate more,” she said.

She’s been transporting the immigrants to and from the center in a van, donated by someone from the county. She drives 20 children and adults everyday, and some days she said the van doesn’t work.

“It’s now becoming a safety issue, that I don’t feel comfortable having people to work or even stand in bus stops,” said Sinandile.

So now, they’re raising money for a new one. They’ve started a Go Fund Me account to raise the funds.

“The refugees and immigrants have to be on guard and watch yourselves,” she said.

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