Adrian Florido had a great story today about how San Diego County was failing to enroll refugee families in a program that would provide them hundreds of dollars in crucial welfare every month.

It’s beautifully written and is an important story about how bureaucratic stumbling blocks can get in the way of people seeking a new life in the United States.

In it, he told the story of Amaal Al-Mifraji, an Iraqi refugee who’s been affected. He described her this way, in discussing her resettlement experience:

At last the 60-year-old mother, whose natural facial expression is one of constant concern, could try to put past her the trauma of the last eight years.

I found his description very apt. Throughout the entire time I photographed her, she kept this gaze, and she rarely shifted her eyes from my lens.

For the story, we chose a photo that took a step back and showed the sparseness of her newly furnished apartment. But I also thought it was important to show a close photo of her face, so you can see plainly the expression Florido described.

Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly said the aid provided “thousands” of dollars each month. It has been updated to say “hundreds.” We regret the error.

Please contact Sam Hodgson directly at or 619.550.5664 and follow him on Twitter:

Sam Hodgson

Sam Hodgson is a freelance photojournalist and contributor to Voice of San Diego. You can contact him at

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