Many Middle Eastern refugees are Iraqis who have fled war-related violence. But in the past decade, the largest number of refugees have actually come from Iran.
More than 15,000 Iranians have moved to California just since 2006. Though their country isn’t currently at war, many Iranians suffer religious and political persecution. And they face many of the same social and cultural taboos about seeking mental healthcare as Iraqi refugees.
Over the past decade, California has resettled more Middle Eastern refugees than any other state in the country. In Northern California, Santa Clara County in the South Bay is a resettlement hub for Middle Eastern refugees – more than 1,300 moved there since 2006. About one out of three of those refugees are from Iraq. And most have seen or suffered through violence related to the war.