Tag: hoping

The travel ban families hoping to be reunited

a group of people posing for the camera


One of President Donald Trump’s earliest and most controversial moves was a travel ban on people from certain nations he said were deemed a security threat to the US. Joe Biden has promised this will be one of the first policies he reverses.

The ban – which now applies to 13 countries – has survived many legal challenges, but for some families it has meant years of separation.


‘My child turned five yesterday. We have been apart his whole life.’

Afkab Hussein is a Somalian lorry driver who has never lived with his sons.

When he first moved to Ohio in 2015, Afkab Hussein planned for his pregnant wife to join him the following year.

But while his wife and children now live in Kenya, they are Somali citizens – and Somalia was one of the countries on the first iteration of the travel ban.

Since he moved, he has only been able to pay a couple of very short visits to his family – and missed the births of his two young children.

“It’s been a really tough few years. It’s been really hard,” he says. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget the last four years.”

Mr Hussein works long, lonely hours, driving lorries in 40 states across the country. He speaks to his wife on the phone, but an eight-hour time difference means that for large stretches of his day, his family is fast asleep.

He has missed all of the major milestones in his sons’ lives so far: “Yesterday was my first son’s fifth birthday – and I wasn’t there.”

Mr Hussein knew that during his campaign Mr Biden had promised to lift the ban in his first 100 days, and was hopeful.

Ally Bolour, a lawyer with American Visas in California, says he is optimistic these families will be able to meet again, but argues that even before the travel ban young Muslim men like Mr Hussein faced discrimination in the US visa system.

“Before Trump, even during [the term of former president Barack] Obama,” this was an issue, Mr Bolour says.

“Even people who go for consular processing for émigré visas can be subjected to sometimes years-long background checks if they’re Muslim, if they’re male, between certain ages and from certain countries.

“What Donald Trump did was effectively… what the government was doing already, but in the form of a travel ban.”

Some argue that the ban is an effective counter-terrorism measure, but caught up in the visa refusals are also families who just want to be together.


‘I would never have had a kid if I had known’

Mina Mahdavi from Campbell, California, has a mother in Iran who has never been able to visit her grandson.

Pregnant with her first child in 2016, Mina Mahdavi applied for a tourist visa so her mother could visit from Iran. She really needed her mother’s support getting ready for the baby.

One month later Donald Trump took office and in

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