A young girl separated from her family for six years was finally reunited with them when a federal judge halted Trump’s so-called ‘Muslim ban‘. And it’s a happy ending to a particularly difficult story.
Stranded travellers from the seven countries affected by the ban welcomed the ruling on Friday 3 February, which halted the measure which had left their lives in limbo. And a 12-year-old Yemeni girl was particularly happy.
Eman Ali’s parents and two sisters are US citizens. But she is not. And her US visa took six years to process. She was recently stopped from boarding her flight to the US because of Trump’s ban.
But after a federal judge halted the enforcement of Trump’s executive order on 3 February, Ali’s family acted quickly. And she arrived at San Francisco Airport on Sunday 5 February without a hitch. Her family members were waiting at the airport to greet her, and she became a US citizen as soon as she left the airport.
Salma Ali is waiting for her sister Eman. pic.twitter.com/OSXkbtCXps
— Kay Recede FOX40 (@KayRecede) February 6, 2017
Ali’s father, delighted at the result, said:
Last week was a bad dream for me… After seven years, finally we are home… Finally I have all my family here.
Even though Ali’s mother is a US citizen, Ali herself is a Yemeni citizen because she was born in Yemen. And because her mother hadn’t lived in the US for the requisite five years, and her father had not yet attained citizenship at the time, she was denied automatic citizenship. The processing of her visa was further complicated when the US Embassy in Sana closed down.
Ali’s mother and sister initially went back to Yemen to live with her, but for the last three years she has been living with her grandparents.
US authorities approved Ali’s visa on 25 January. She travelled to Jordan and then to Djibouti with her father. But they could not board their flight to the US, as Trump’s ban was taking effect.
The 3 February ruling gave the Alis a window of opportunity, and immigration lawyers have urged others to take advantage of this window too.
A bad idea recognised
The federal judge ruled that there was no support for the argument that Trump’s order would “protect the US from individuals from these countries”. To rub more salt into Trump’s wounds, a US Court of Appeal denied Trump’s appeal to restore the ban.
Trump responded to the original ruling on Twitter, saying:
Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2017
And while people may not be “pouring in”, the judge’s decision is certainly a relief for many innocent travellers. Particularly those who have gone through a difficult and long immigration process already, like Eman Ali. They have visas for legal entry or residence in the US, and have every right to be there.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?