The stories of travelers arriving in US after ban is halted

AP News
|
Posted: Feb 06, 2017 5:04 PM
The stories of travelers arriving in US after ban is halted

Court rulings halting enforcement of President Donald Trump's ban on refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries have reopened the door to the United States for some people initially denied entry.

Here are some of their stories:

___

Syrian immigrant Mathyo Asali thought his life was "ruined" when he landed at Philadelphia International Airport on Jan. 28, visa in hand, only to be denied entry to the United States.

Asali, who returned to Damascus, said he figured he'd be inducted into the Syrian military.

But on Monday, the teenager and five members of his extended family were ecstatic to be back on U.S. soil. The Asali brothers, their wives and two teenage children flew to New York from Abu Dhabi on Monday, then headed to Allentown on a bus.

"It's really nice to know that there's a lot of people supporting us," Asali told Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, who greeted the family at a relative's house in Allentown.

Dr. Ghassan Assali and his wife, Sarmad, both U.S. citizens originally from Syria, started the visa process for the dentist's two brothers and their families more than 13 years ago.

The Assalis, who spell their name differently, bought and renovated a rowhome in the heart of Allentown's large Syrian Christian community for their relatives in anticipation of the families' arrival last month.

When they were barred from the country, "I was pessimistic. I did not think this was going to happen," Sarmad Assali said Monday. "Today we woke up to a new dream, and I am so thankful that they are ... safe with us."

___

A South Carolina resident who was stuck in Iran following President Trump's executive order said she "just wants to get back to a normal life" in the country she's made her home.

Nazanin Zinouri was greeted Monday at the Greenville-area airport with kisses from her dog Dexter and well-wishers holding signs reading "Welcome Home."

The 29-year-old Clemson University graduate says it's "amazing" to be back following weeks of fear that all she's worked for since moving to the U.S. in 2010 would be taken away.

The Iranian citizen had flown to Iran to visit family but, while trying to return, was barred from getting on a plane in Dubai.

___

Aqel Aziz couldn't stop smiling after his two sons, ages 19 and 21, were finally able to join him in the United States Monday.

"America is for everybody," he said, after greeting his boys, Tareq and Ammar, at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. The brothers were turned away last week.

The family filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging Trump's ban. The lawsuit remains ongoing, but last week the government reached a settlement with the Aziz family, and another Yemeni family on the same flight, the Al Murisis, who were all turned away despite status as lawful permanent residents.

The Aziz brothers and the seven members of the Al Murisi family — all natives of Yemen, one of the seven countries affected by the ban — all arrived at Dulles on Monday morning.

___

More than three dozen Yemenis fleeing their country's civil war, who had been previously stranded in the African nation of Djibouti, arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday.

The 37 people, who are children, parents and spouses of U.S. citizens, arrived after a 30-hour journey. The trip included a 12-hour layover in Istanbul, which is where their flight to New York originated.

They were temporarily stranded by President Trump's entry ban.

Yemen has been gripped by conflict since 2014. A Saudi-led coalition, backed by the United States, has been carrying out an air campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels for nearly two years.

One man currently living in Brooklyn greeted three teenage children from Yemen at the airport in New York. He declined to be interviewed after a tearful reunion.