What of Valentine’s with Love Interrupted
Trump‘s "extreme vetting" procedures have rendered an executive order to ban refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days, block travel from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, and bar immigration from Syria indefinitely. Such “vetting” not only snared new immigrants, but also trapped green card holders and people with valid visas. Some travelers who were flying to US when Trump signed the order weren't able to enter the country when they landed. Others were detained or sent back to where they flew in from.
Protests to the order are global, from civilians and political leaders alike. UK Prime Minster Theresa May declared: "We do not agree with this kind of approach." German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Trump personally and reminded him of the United States' obligations to refugees under the Geneva Conventions. Many critics feel parts of Trump's order are unconstitutional and discriminatory.
A federal judge in New York granted an emergency stay for citizens of the countries included in the ban. A federal court in Washington issued a stay stopping travelers being detained there from being sent back to their home countries. Federal judges in Boston ruled officials can't detain a person on the basis of Trump's executive order.
College students and faculty members from foreign countries fear they'll have to decide between careers or families. Some raced back to the United States as the executive order loomed, so they would be able to complete their academic pursuits. Now they're left to wonder when they'll get to see their loved ones or families again if they remain in the United States. With Valentine’s Day approaching and people celebrating dear ones, Trump’s order came at the worst time to interrupt love and human bonds.
Osman Nasreldin’s fiancée, Sahar Fadul, had been detained late January after arriving at Dulles International Airport from her home in Sudan and put on a plane back to Africa. The visa she traveled with was stamped “CANCELLED” arbitrarily though it had taken a year for her to acquire. Osman beseeched lawyers and immigration officials for 11 days before he was reunited with Sahar in Colorado, joining a flood of other travelers taking advantage of the temporary suspension of Trump’s immigration order.
What does Valentine’s Day entail when such intrusion is imposed upon people’s lives? In limbo, asunder, with anguish and pain. For couples of different nationalities navigating America’s immigration system, Trump’s executive order and the legal upheaval it created have hurled relationships and marriages into turmoil. Some couples are trying all means to buy one-way plane tickets and plan reunions while enforcement of the order is still suspended. Others are being forced to relocate outside the US, or sadly failed to carry out their engagements.
Mr. Nasreldin and Ms. Fadul were among those racing to reunite, hoping to bind themselves together no matter the outcome of federal court cases challenging the legality of Trump’s temporary ban. Their love remained firm. What changed, they said, was their certainty they would make it through the immigrant vetting process and one day live together in the United States. This Valentine’s is full of lovers in quandaries.