Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'It's Wrong on All Levels': Canadians Affected by Trump's Travel Ban Speak Out

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'It's Wrong on All Levels': Canadians Affected by Trump's Travel Ban Speak Out

Article excerpt

Canadians affected by Trump's travel ban speak out


VANCOUVER - The only reason Athba Samarai and her husband moved thousands of kilometres from their homes in Iraq, she says, was so their children could grow up happily and safely in Canada.

But this week, the 35-year-old financial manager found herself struggling to explain to her young kids why U.S. President Donald Trump wants to temporarily ban people born in Iraq from crossing the border.

"We lived through an era of oppression and we came all the way here to let our kids live in harmony and peace," said Samarai. "We never thought that this could happen here."

Samarai, who lives in Calgary, is among scores of Canadian permanent residents from the seven countries affected by Trump's executive order who say their ability to travel to the U.S. is in limbo.

Although the Canadian government has assured permanent residents they will be allowed to cross the border, Samarai and others say U.S. authorities have been less clear and they fear they will be detained.

She said she had planned to fly via Seattle on Saturday to her sister's wedding, but had to rebook her flights to avoid the U.S. Her in-laws, aunt, uncle and cousins all live in the U.S. and now she and her husband can't visit them, she said.

Her father-in-law has a green card and can't leave the U.S. because he fears he won't be allowed back in, she added, while her grandmother had to rebook a flight at the last minute to avoid a U.S. connection because the 82-year-old feared being interrogated.

"It's wrong on all levels," she said.

Samarai said she's happy and grateful to live in Canada, but was dismayed by hateful Facebook comments in response to her family's story, and devastated by Sunday's attack on a Quebec City mosque.

"I just want to ask every single person who is born here, who is not challenged in any way about where he came from or which God he prays to. ... If this happened to you, if you were displaced because of who you are or where you were born, how would you react?"

Danny Ramadan, 32, said he had been looking forward to promoting his upcoming novel, "The Clothesline Swing," in the U. …

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