Reporter's Notebook

How the Travel Ban Affects You
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Readers share their personal stories and views on Trump’s executive order barring certain immigrants and refugees. To join in, send us a note at

Show 2 Newer Notes

‘Will He Board the Plane? I Am Freaking Out!’

We posted a note earlier from an Iranian American woman who worries that her sick grandmother and other family and friends back in Iran won’t be able to come to the U.S. A few more readers followed up with similar worries regarding loved ones in Iran—one of the seven countries affected by Trump’s travel ban:

My husband left for Iran on Thursday (the day before the ban was signed) to visit his sister who had a heart attack! He is supposed to come back in February. He has a Green Card and has been in the U.S. since 1994. We own a business here in Virginia, with several contracts that are due by end of February. What can I say to our clients? How am I suppose to earn any money to keep our mortgage and bills paid without my husband?  I am still not clear if Green Card holders can board the plane to U.S. or not. We live five minutes away from the Dulles airport. He has no problem answering any questions by customs agents, but will they let him board the plane in Munich? I am freaking out!

I have lived in the States since I was 7, which makes it 40 years now, and I have never been so sad with what is happening here. What is happening? I’m so confused and disappointed.

The Trump White House initially barred Green Card holders, but no longer. The reader’s confusion is understandable, however, given the rushed, uncoordinated, and imprecise language of the executive order—and what might come next.

This next reader also has family ties with Iran:

Long story short, my son was born and raised in the U.S., as was I (my family were Polish immigrants at the turn of the 20th century). He has become a successful writer and professor, after receiving his doctorate degree from Columbia at the age of 24. He fell in love with a wonderful Iranian woman several years ago. She is such an intelligent, beautiful woman working as a pediatric nurse anesthetist and hoping to get into the medical field here in the U.S.

They have been waiting for her visa since applying in 2015. They were married in Georgia (the country), and they were expecting to be together soon. Unfortunately, that process has been stopped due to the ban on Iranians. Even if you marry a U.S. citizen, you have to get a visa first before entering the country.

My heart is broken for them. We are all devastated. I really am at a loss for the right words to describe what we have gone through this past week … such sadness.

On June 2, 2009, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a rally at Tehran's Azadi sports complex during his re-election campaign. Caren Firouz / Reuters

An Iranian American reader is worried about her family and friends in the wake of President Trump’s travel ban on the citizens of Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and, of course, Iran:

My father is a small business owner in the Midwest, managing a manufacturing company of 20 employees. He has operated this business for the past 15 years, providing jobs and benefits to hard-working Americans. My dad himself is a naturalized citizen, Iranian born. He attended university in the U.S. right before revolution broke out in Iran, and for 35 years thereafter he was unable to return to Iran.

His siblings slowly immigrated to Europe and the U.S. over the years with my grandparents visiting us for years at a time. My grandparents very proudly became naturalized citizens a few years ago.

My father spent these last two weeks in Iran attending to his widowed mother, who is hard of hearing, hard of sight, and diabetic. She had missed her sisters and their families and so went back to Iran a few months ago, despite our wish for her to stay.

This weekend, with the confusion over the ban and not understanding to whom it applied, I found myself asking if my father would be allowed back in the country on Sunday because of his dual nationality. Thankfully, he was.

But my grandmother is still in Iran. I am worried about our ability to bring her back to the U.S. before tensions get worse between the two countries, despite her dual citizenship and the dual citizenship of my relatives who would need to escort her back. We are worried about our friends and family, the students who have visas to study in the U.S., who don’t know if or when they can visit home now. We are worried about the families who hoped to send their children to the U.S. for educational opportunities. We are worried about the individuals who fled Iran and sought asylum and freedom from religious persecution.

They call Trump the “American Ahmadinejad” in Iran and no wonder; he is self-serving, uninformed, and shows intolerance to vulnerable populations.

I am hopeful that our senators and governors will hear our calls to stay Trump’s immigration order. We are a nation founded on seeking refuge, and to institute a “Muslim ban” on the premise that providing solace to refugees will harm our nation is an insult to this country.

If your own family is being affected by the travel ban and you’d like to share your story, please send us a note. Regarding the first reader’s Ahmadinejad/Trump comparison, “it has some depth,” according to The Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor in a September 2016 piece: