Fractured family

Trump's "Muslim ban" prevents students from being visited by family from Iran and Syria

The moment that they found out their opportunity to visit their relatives in the Middle East had been postponed, their families were devastated by the news.

“My family in Iran can’t come to visit me because of the new ban,” senior Tina Hayati said. “My uncle has a ten year old son who we were hoping could visit us in the summer to take him to Disneyland and super fun places. But now with the ban, he can’t get a visa so we can’t see him.”

Hayati was born in Iran and settled in the United States with her her parents, sister, and uncle’s family when she was two. She still has many relatives in Iran.

On Jan. 30, thousands of Middle Easterners from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan were blocked from entering the United States in an executive order passed by Donald Trump in an effort to prevent radical islamic terrorists from entering the country.

“My grandma was supposed to come beginning of March, but at this point our family doesn’t know if we will be able to see her at all this year,” senior Catrina Kassab, a friend of Hayati, said. “It’s been ten years since I have seen her, and now I’m scared that this duration will be even longer.”

As a result of Trump’s new executive order, there have been rumors that countries such as Iran will retaliate and ban America’s citizens from traveling to their country. If this is put into place, Hayati won’t be able to visit her family.

“I think the ban should be revoked entirely because to come to this country and get a green card, there are already so many existing limitations,” Hayati said. “For example, to come to this country, my uncle nearly waited ten years to get a green card.”

Freshman Leila Ghazvini’s aunt in the United States on a visa from Iran, and her family fears that she could be kicked out at any time. Her 15 year old cousin is also restricted from traveling back and forth to Iran often, so he very rarely is able to see his father.

“Thankfully, most of my family has green cards, but there are people in my [family] who can’t see tons of their family. Being able to see and visit your family is a super important connection that people don’t get to make because of religion,” Ghazvini said.

Hayati often feels more “targeted” by the media due to her culture and heritage.

“Nowadays it’s harder to say where you’re from because when I say Iran, my origins are looked down upon,” Hayati said. “When people look at the news and are fed the information that Iranians are banned from entering this country, they assume a negative connotation with them.”

Hayati believes that the news mainly reports negative and “prejudice” information about Middle Eastern cultures, when in actuality Hayati believes Iranians are simply “normal people.”

“People have a general negative connotation towards Muslims in the Middle East because the news feeds them this information and they can’t help it,” Hayati said. “They might not even try to be racist but often times, they’re made to believe that we are a danger or threat to them.”

According to Ghazvini, her family came to America for new opportunities, not to make anyone feel unsafe.

“A lot of people come here to see their family or want better opportunities. All immigrants come here for a better life and it’s hard to do that while being treated like they’re worse than others.” Ghazvini said, “Whether or not we want to admit to it, we kind of always have this radar on Muslims that just isn’t right.”

Hayati believes that the public can be easily swayed to believe what is said on television and she hopes for people to rely on other sources to obtain information regarding the Middle East.

“The only positive thing that comes out of this ban is the awareness that it’s drawing,” Hayati said. “The ban is allowing people to realize that not everyone from the Middle East is bad and it’s encouraging people to actually search up what these countries are.”

Hayati believes that people can make more accurate conclusions on what they know rather than what they are “made to believe” so that they can realize that there are “bigger” problems in the United States than terrorism.

“Even being from a Middle Eastern country doesn’t make everyone a Muslim,” Hayati said. “I’m not religious, but these laws group everyone in that region to be Muslim so everyone can associate them to be threatening, in a way.”

Kassab feels as though the ban on Middle Eastern immigration to America is more personal than limiting the flow of terrorism to the United States.

“This feels like an attack on the Muslim and Middle Eastern culture as opposed to the American government actually trying to prevent an attack,” Kassab said. “I feel like because they chose countries that are mostly Muslim and don’t benefit American companies financially, these countries became an easier target, racially speaking.”

Kassab and Hayati believe that being from the Middle East has made them feel more “victimized” and “stereotyped” falsely by many groups of people.

“My family is panicking because although we are Christian, we have the word Syrian all over us,” Kassab said. “It’s a label we can’t take off and now we are getting punished for it.”

Ultimately, Hayati believes that if people were to educate themselves on Middle Eastern cultures such as the Iranian culture and researched Muslim values, they would be able to draft positive support in favor of lifting revoking the ban.

“I’m hoping that the Supreme Court will realize that this ban is unconstitutional and that it discriminates against Muslims,” Hayati said. “And I’m hoping that this situation with people standing up to fight for their rights and becoming more involved to bring justice to this act.”

Hayati believes immigration is essential to America to not only promote diversity, but also “freedom” to dictate their own future.

“The ban, even if its intentions are to protect the United States, is ultimately unfair,” Hayati said. “This country is mainly based around immigration. Our country’s whole point is to give everyone an equal opportunity here and to not make Muslims look like the enemy, when realistically, we’ve been victimized at this point.”