Local News

Syrian family in Triangle fears revived travel ban will block young daughter

Posted February 6

— Abdullah Khadra and his family are racing the clock, trying to bring their daughter to the Triangle before a travel ban decreed by President Donald Trump can be reinstated in the courts.

"This is absolutely inhumane and ridiculous," said Khadra, a Syrian who is on a work visa to teach at an Islamic school in Cary.

Khadra and his wife, who also teaches at the school, had to go to Jordan last fall for a family emergency. The visa for their 3-year-old daughter, Muna, expired before they could return, and they have been trying for weeks to renew the visa.

"Every day, she calls and she cries," he said.

The travel ban, which was put on hold late Friday by a federal judge in Washington state, only complicates the family's problems. Under the president's executive order, all immigration from Syria and six other predominantly Muslim countries was halted for three months, while all refugees were blocked for four months – Syrian refugees are prevented from entering the U.S. indefinitely.

Since the travel ban was lifted, a family of six from Sudan arrived in the Triangle over the weekend, and another Syrian family is scheduled to arrive Tuesday.

Khadra said Trump's order was discouraging.

"It broke our hearts," he said. "It made an end for our tries."

Community activist Faisal Khan said he and others have formed a support network and are trying to help ease the anxieties of immigrants and refugees who come to the Triangle.

"You have to prepare yourself, get ready and then again, not knowing what's going to take place at the airports when they arrive here because there's been all kinds of news of people being stopped, interrogated, detained for days or hours," Khan said.

Jewish leaders in the Triangle spoke out Monday against the travel ban and expressed support for refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. They said the Torah tells Jews to remember that they too have been refugees and that their faith demands that they welcome people who are fleeing persecution.

Rabbi Lucy Dinner, of Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, said there is a need to protect Americans, but Trump's plan isn't the way to do it.

"We must address terrorist acts based on evidence, not by singling out an entire group of people based on their faith," Dinner said. "Not only is it the right thing to do, it is more effective at keeping us safe."

Duke University Imam Abdullah Antepli also spoke at an interfaith news conference on behalf of refugees who've been turned away after years of vetting, calling the travel ban immoral and painful to the Muslim community.

Khadra said he just wants to have his family together again.

"Still we have hope that we will apply humanitarian peril or something," he said of getting Muna to the U.S. any way he can.


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  • John Jones Feb 7, 2017
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    Anyone concerned Japan and Saudi Arabia aren't taking in any refugees?

  • Walter Greene Feb 7, 2017
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    Obviously, I've never walked a mile in these people's shoes; however, I can't understand how a family would return to the US without one of their children. They're here to teach at a school, and that's more important than being with their child? That's messed up! She may be banned from coming here, but they are not banned from returning to their home country to be with her. Go home to be with your child.

  • Nathaniel Lincoln Feb 7, 2017
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    View quoted thread

    its amazing that their 3 year old is calling them every day crying and they won't go to be with them. Article seems pretty embellished , let's blame that bad old Donald Trump for everything seems to be every other story lately. All coverage is one sided the voice of the people is only heard through the comment section but they will block you eventually for making too much sense. Who is Big Brother again!

  • Salli Gallagher Feb 7, 2017
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    If I were a parent wild horses would not keep me from my child

  • Nathaniel Lincoln Feb 6, 2017
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    Seriously what kind of parent would do that?

  • Nathaniel Lincoln Feb 6, 2017
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    These people left their 3 year old in another country ?? I'm confused , travel ban doesn't stop you from leaving just entering USA so why don't they leave to be with their child?

  • Norman Lewis Feb 6, 2017
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    Trying for weeks? Did you actually put the paperwork in in time or wait til the visa had already expired? Is this a real story or some liberal BS to try to denigrate our new President and his policies? It is INEXCUSABLE to be in a foreign country and not stay on top of legal residency requirements. I seriously doubt you would allow your own visa to expire, why would you ignore your family members?, that is why I doubt the legitimacy of this entire story.

  • Brendan Dillon Feb 6, 2017
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    Scared of a three-year-old? Keeping her from her parents is really doing wonders to keep us safe.

  • John White Feb 6, 2017
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    Cry me a river people. You know why this happened? People are so used to Presidents not doing what they say on the campaign trail. Now we have a guy that is following through it is catching people by surprise! What campaign promises are not real? Well with Trump they are turning real. Everyone should finally be happy we have a man in office that his word actually means something. Awesome job Mr. President!!! I am proud to be an American once again.

  • Rod Runner Feb 6, 2017
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    A parent with an emergency? Like the article said? A parent who didn't have trouble with renewing visas in the past?

    It says they left last fall. Do you think they had any idea this would happen?