The 45-year-old man sits on the edge of the couch – not tense, but not relaxed, either. He wears a button-down shirt and khakis, but also tennis shoes. He’s anxious to move forward, but has nowhere to go.

Marwan is a man in the middle.

Three years ago, he, his wife and their four children fled the civil war in Syria, leaving behind their home, friends, family and Marwan’s banking career. Out of fear, Marwan won’t say where they fled to or where his family is now, but in October, Marwan flew alone to Chicago with a visitor’s visa, and when he arrived, asked for asylum.

So Immigration Control and Enforcement officials put him in jail.

Technically, Marwan was “detained,” but the reality is he was held for five months in the McHenry County Jail in the Chicago suburbs. With no friends or relatives in the United States, when he was released he went to the Marie Joseph House for Men in Cicero, Illinois, a project of the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants.

The House for Men and a House for Families at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago’s Hyde Park opened May 1, 2014. Each is now home to about a dozen people either waiting for final permission to stay in the United States or who do have permission and are learning how to live here – getting training or going to school, finding jobs and saving money for somewhere to live

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