A family of Trump voters just got a very nasty surprise

Support us and go ad-free

A Syrian-American family – which actually voted for Donald Trump – has now faced the sharp end of one of the US President’s most controversial executive orders. The couple, who’ve lived in the US for 20 years, are now witnessing their relatives being sent back to Syria.

Sarmad and Ghassan Assali live in Pennsylvania. Still with family in Syria, Sarmad’s two brothers and their wives and children received visas in December 2016 after a long-standing immigration attempt. And after the Assalis prepared a new home for their relatives, they arrived at Philadelphia International Airport on Saturday 29 January.

But the family didn’t get the welcome they’d hoped for.

An unwelcome surprise

Two security guards were ready and waiting for the family and asked them on landing:

Are you Syrians? Come with us.

They detained the family immediately and then promptly sent them back on a flight to Damascus a couple of hours after Trump signed the executive order that restricted travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. This restriction, which many are calling a ‘Muslim ban’, targets countries like Syria which are not key US allies in the Middle East. But the Assali family are actually Orthodox Christians. They also had proof of green cards. And the next day, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus announced that Trump’s order would not apply to anyone with a green card.

Individual lives ruined

Trump’s blanket ban has had a very individual human impact. One of the sons of the deported, Tawfiq Ali, had been waiting three years to see his mother in America. And the family sold everything in order to prepare for their trip. Supporters have now started a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for the visas.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Jonathan Gode, an attorney involved in the case helping the Assalis, said:

This poor family sold everything and used those funds for this trip and now that’s gone… If they ever make it here they will be coming with not a penny to their names.

The bitter twist

To rub salt into the wound, the Assalis had actually voted for Trump to become President. A decision they may now be regretting.

As Ghassar told NBC News:

America is not America. Like ISIS now, they ask, ‘Are you Christian? What do you believe?’ And if they are not saying what they believe, they kick you out and they cut your head off. So America, same thing. They ask you are you Muslim? You’ve got to change your religion.

And Sarmad asked the man she helped put in the White House:

Why? Where is your human side to send somebody to a war zone?

Global outrage

Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ has caused outrage throughout the world, and millions have protested across major cities.

The Trump Administration claims the executive order is in the interest of national security. Others disagree, and claim it’s a populist gesture that will fuel the fans of hatred and propaganda that terrorist groups thrive on. And one former senior State Department official has explained exactly how destructive and counterproductive the ban will prove to be.

Airport officials have detained over a hundred people since Trump signed the orders, affecting mostly people trying to reunite with their families, but also an ex-US army interpreter and a five year-old.

Reality hitting home

As the case of the Assalis shows, the irrationality and divisiveness of Trump’s administration are even starting to ring true for some of Trump’s own supporters. Yet again, the following quote attributed to Hitler critic Martin Niemöller seems appropriate:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Americans can resist the Trump Administration’s wave of attacks on minority groups. They have the power to do so. But they must stand up together, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation. For if they ignore the plight of others just because they’re different, few will remain to have their backs when they find themselves under attack.

Get Involved!

– Check out the crowdfunding campaign to help the Assalis return.

– See other Canary articles on Donald Trump.

– Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for more independent international coverage.

Featured image via Twitter

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed