Refugee Dad Says All Needs Were Met
Aug. 06, 1999
NEW YORK (AP) _ The father of the first Albanian Kosovar refugee born in the United States has withdrawn his claim that the family was all but destitute because promises of aid hadn't come through.
Naim Karaliu, father of little Amerikan, whose birth this spring grabbed headlines nationwide, now acknowledges his family's needs had been met for now _ income, baby food, and rent for their two-bedroom apartment, The Dallas Morning News reported today.
``We have a lot of food _ no problem,'' he told the newspaper through a translator at apartment he shares with his wife, baby and parents. ``The problem is, I don't know if I'm going to have enough money later.''
The newspaper, in today's editions, said Karaliu resented that other refugees seemed to be getting more aid than his family.
The New York Post reported the family's pleas for support Monday. The next day, it reported that United Parcel Service was offering a job to Karaliu, who had complained of neglect by the Refugee Services of North Texas.
But the family acknowledged Thursday having had three household incomes when they made their complaints. Grandfather Vebi had qualified for $500 a month in Social Security benefits and got his first check last week. Grandmother Xhevrie got a job on a hotel housekeeping crew in June, and Naim had worked on a construction gang for much of the last six weeks.
The refugee agency had strongly denied the family's claims all along.
``We're pretty frustrated with the misinformation that's been noted in the media,'' said Deborah DeWinter, associated director of Church World Services, which oversees the North Texas agency. ``Frankly, we're pretty incredulous about the statements made that we have not provided rent when that's just not true.''
Amerikan _ his name follows Albanian spelling _ was born May 6, the day after his parents were airlifted to Fort Dix, N.J., from the war-torn Balkans. He is an American citizen by virtue of his birth here.
Records show that the family has lived bill-free since arriving in Dallas on June 4, the newspaper said. They were given three months' rent on their $750 apartment, furniture, dishes, and hundreds of dollars in food and cash. They also were given referrals to social services and a job-placement program.
Within days of their arrival, the Karalius also began receiving more than $550 a month in food stamps and got full access to Medicaid and Medicare, the newspaper said.