On Friday, Trump signed an executive order which suspends all refugee entries for 120 days, indefinitely bars Syrian refugees, and blocks the entry of citizens from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia for 90 days. A New York federal judge later stayed parts of the order as it applies to those currently waiting at U.S. airports for admission. For others, the future is, unfortunately, far from certain.
The Los Angles Times interviewed those affected by this ban who shared their personal stories:
Rawi worked in the Times’ Baghdad bureau during some of the most violent years of the Iraq war. His 69-year-old father, a retired civil engineer, lives in Baghdad and was supposed to visit. According to the Los Angeles Times, “The chaos began less than two hours after Trump signed the order on Friday. About 6 p.m., Rawi received a jarring message on WhatsApp. It was from his father. He’d been set to board a plane in Doha, Qatar, when an airline employee took his passport somewhere and returned with a U.S. Embassy representative. He could not get on the plane, the man said. His visa — which allowed for multiple visits to the U.S. over the course of a year — was no longer valid.” An outraged Rawi tells the Times, “What’s next? Is it going to be internment camps like World War II where they put all the Japanese in one camp? They’ll do the same for us? This is not what this country is all about.”
Ali Abdi is a 30-year-old student from Iran, studying for his PhD in anthropology at Yale University, and had left the U.S. last week for the United Arab Emirates on his way to a research trip in Afghanistan. Under Trump’s new order, the scholar can no longer return to the U.S. to finish his studies. “What has happened is very illuminating,” says Mr. Abdi. “The main problem is the lives of thousands of others who are torn apart by what happened.”
Bahareh Aslani and Mostapha Roudsari are both Iranian Americans who are getting married this April. Mr. Roudsari’s parents live in Iran, and last month went to Dubai to apply for a Visa which was approved. Now, under the order, both are barred from entry and will not be able to attend their son’s wedding. “It’s frustrating, most of all,” says Ms. Aslani. “Makes me sad for my in-laws and family, but mostly I’m really scared, because is this the beginning? Are they going to come after me?”
“I don’t understand the logic,” says Moustafa Kanjo, a Syrian refugee who resettled in Pomona, California, in September 2015. “Why would we be a security risk here? Our ultimate goal is to run away from violence.”