UPDATE, July 8, 2017: The recent election in France was a disappointment for far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who campaigned on an anti-immigrant platform. With a centrist president now in office, Reveal checks back with Sudanese refugees Ibrahim and Ahmad to see how they’re adapting to their new life in France, and what the election has meant for other refugees seeking asylum there.

In 2015, French radio reporter Raphael Krafft was covering the refugee crisis in France, which like the U.S. is closing its borders to refugees. On a reporting trip to Italy, he was confronted by a refugee who asked him to help his family cross the border into France.

As a journalist, Krafft was supposed to be objective, but the plight of the family and other refugees he met compelled him to get involved. In this episode of Reveal, he recounts what happened next and how it changed the course of his career and life.

First, we meet Krafft, a war correspondent who’s covered conflicts around the world for 20 years. He’s witnessed suffering and has met countless desperate people, but seeing this crisis unfold in his own country moves him to action.

One day at the French-Italian border, Krafft meets a Sudanese man named Ibrahim, who is desperate to get to France so he can apply for asylum. But the French border is closed. Krafft decides to smuggle Ibrahim and a friend into the country. To evade border police, they travel by foot – over the Alps.

A year after the border crossing, Krafft reunites with Ibrahim and his friend Ahmad to check on their asylum status and see how they are adjusting to their new life in France.

Dig Deeper

See: Photographs from Krafft, Ibrahim and Ahmad’s border crossing through the Alps.


Support for Reveal is provided by The Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Mary and Steven Swig.

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Julia B. Chan worked at The Center for Investigative Reporting until June, 2017. Julia B. Chan is a producer and the digital editor for Reveal's national public radio program. She’s the voice of Reveal online and manages the production and curation of digital story assets that are sent to more than 200 stations across the country. Previously, Chan helped The Center for Investigative Reporting launch YouTube’s first investigative news channel, The I Files, and led engagement strategies – online and off – for multimedia projects. She oversaw communications, worked to better connect CIR’s work with a bigger audience and developed creative content and collaborations to garner conversation and impact.

Before joining CIR, Chan worked as a Web editor and reporter at the San Francisco Examiner. She managed the newspaper’s digital strategy and orchestrated its first foray into social media and online engagement. A rare San Francisco native, she studied broadcasting at San Francisco State University, focusing on audio production and recording. Chan is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Taki Telonidis is an interim executive producer for Reveal. Previously, he was the media producer for the Western Folklife Center, where he created more than 100 radio features for NPR’s "All Things Considered," "Weekend Edition" and other news magazines. He has produced and directed three public television specials, including "Healing the Warrior’s Heart," a one-hour documentary that explores how the ancient spiritual traditions of our nation’s first warriors, Native Americans, are helping today’s veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Telonidis also was senior content editor for NPR’s "State of the Re:Union." Before moving to the West, he worked for NPR in Washington, where he was senior producer of "Weekend All Things Considered" between 1994 and 1998. His television and radio work has garnered a George Foster Peabody Award, three Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards and the Overseas Press Club Award for breaking news. Telonidis is based in Salt Lake City.