On May 5, 1999, the first plane-load of Kosovar refugees arrived at Fort Dix in New Jersey. Aboard were expectant couple Lebibe and Naim Karaliju.
On May 6, the couple welcomed a son. They named him Amerikan.
According to the SSA, Amerikan Karaliju was “the first Kosovar [refugee] baby born on U.S. soil.”
The name was dad’s idea. He wanted to “honor the country that gave them shelter from ethnic cleansing,” according to the NY Daily News.
[By mid-2000, the family was back in Kosovo and expecting a second child.]
- Colangelo, Lisa and Corky Siemaszko. “Refugees’ Child Is Born in U.S.A. Boy Becomes an American.” New York Daily News 7 May 1999.
- “True Amerikan.” Post and Courier 12 May 1999: 4-A.