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The personal stories around Trump's travel ban


USA

The personal stories around Trump's travel ban

Here is a small selection of the people affected by Donald Trump’s travel ban on nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Nazanin Zinouri

Dog-loving Nazanin, from Tehran, Iran, has been living in South Carolina for the last seven years.

The PhD graduate says she travelled to Tehran on January 20 for her once-a-year visit to her home country.

She arrived in Iran but, as news spread about Trump’s ban on immigrants from Iran, she tried to get back to the USA as soon as possible.

Nazanin made it as far as Dubai before being prevented from travelling onto Washington.

She said: “It was shocking and I could not believe a country like the United States, that is all about acting based on law and supporting human rights, will keep someone who has lived there for almost seven years and have valid visa and documents from returning to her home.

“I humbly ask for your support in my return to the United States, to my home, my dog, my car, my career, and my friends. My story will be much like others who dedicated their lives to their dream – the American Dream – and whose intentions and lives were turned upside-down on Friday without notice or reason.”

Amin Karbasi

Amin, a professor at Yale University, said in a Facebook post that around three weeks ago his wife took their newborn daughter back to Iran, to visit her grandparents for the first time.

He now fears his wife and daughter are not going to be able to return.

“We are permanent residents [of the US] and my child is a US citizen but because of the executive order, they may not be able to re-enter and I cannot leave the US because I maybe barred from re-entering,” Amin said in a Twitter post.

“This is a very devastating situation for us and I hope it will be resolved soon.”


Mohammed Al Rawi

Mohammed, a former translator for American journalists based in Baghdad, was granted asylum in the US.

In a Facebook post he said his 69-year-old father was prevented from visiting him in Los Angeles.

“I don’t understand how this [Trump’s executive order] is going to secure or prevent terrorism.

“Al Qaeda targeted me, my family, they sabotaged my house, they looted my belongings, so I am a victim of terrorism and this is how I could come to the United States as an asylum refugee,” said Mohammed.

“I would welcome any step that would prevent a terrorist attack from happening anywhere in the world.

“I struggle to see how this is going to stop terrorism happening, it might actually do the opposite.”

Talking about how his father – a retired civil servant – felt after being turned back, he added: “He was just beat up, he was very tired and sad and he just wanted to get some sleep.”



Fatemeh Shams

Poet and author Fatemeh said she was forced into exile after protests around the 2009 presidential elections in her home country of Iran.

After several years in Britain, she arrived in the US just a month ago and says the ban has turned her life upside down.

“Everything, including my career is now at risk. I have been sleepless,” wrote Fatemeh, who is an assistant professor of Persian literature at the University of Pennsylvania.

“As long as you were born in Iran you are accused of being a terrorist and therefore you are banned from living a normal life.

“You are banned from seeing your loved ones.

“You are banned from travelling (as an academic it is crucial for you to attend conferences).

“You are banned from being a human being.”



Ali Abdi

Ali, who is studying anthropology at Yale University, says he left New York on January 22 to do some research in Afghanistan.

He’s stranded in Dubai and doesn’t know if he’s going to be able to return.

“As a human rights activist I can’t go back to my home country, Iran, which means I’m welcomed neither by the Iranian or American governments,” Ali told Al Jazeera.

“My story though is just one out of thousands and I think the intensity and severity of my situation is not comparable to many other stories.

“What the ban is doing is just feeding the existing Islamaphobia and those sentiments, which I think are on the rise in the USA.”



Syrian refugees

There are also stories of Syrian refugees who had been vetted and were ready to fly to the USA, only to be denied at the last minute.