Mallory Moench Profile picture
Jul 17, 2018 9 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Hundreds of Yemeni-Americans denied visas and stranded under the travel ban now have to choose: wait with little hope for a visa or return to a warzone. Many have already returned to war in Yemen. My report from Djibouti:
#travelban #yemen
I interviewed 14 Yemeni-American families - more than 50 people including children - and spoke to immigration lawyers, advocates, and community leaders who know hundreds more. The same feelings of shock, betrayal, and despair were echoed in every story.
Sixteen-year-old Hazem Al-Shawbi, who journeyed alone 15 days through four countries for a visa interview and the chance to join his father in North Carolina, wondered why Trump wouldn’t allow a young kid looking for a brighter future into the United States.
Redwan Nagi had already bought a birthday present for the 1-year-old daughter he hasn’t met yet, expecting to see her soon after his interview. Since his visa was rejected, he worries constantly about his U.S. citizen wife in California, who has been diagnosed with depression.
Gamal Al-Omaisi, who struggles to walk because of a spinal cord condition, couldn’t believe that the embassy wouldn’t consider his medical condition when deciding whether he could join his wife in California.
Three of Salah Hussein's five children are U.S. citizens, but he would be unable to take care of them without his wife, whose visa was denied. He also supports his 3-year-old nephew, who cries every day because the toddler’s petition to join his U.S. citizen mother was rejected.
Ismail Alghazali, another U.S. citizen who is trying to bring his wife, disabled sister, and 5-month-old son to New York, questioned how his family poses a national security threat.
Ashwaq Mobqel, whose U.S. citizen stepfather lives in Seattle, remembers how her daughters, aged 11 and 12, cried and refused to take their passports back from the consular officer in the U.S. embassy when their visas were denied under the ban. Her visa is still under processing.
Haleef Saleh, who has six U.S. citizen siblings, has been waiting two years on visas for himself, his wife and his six children. In Yemen, his niece, brother and neighbor were killed in war. After the Supreme Court ruling on the travel ban, Saleh's family returned to a warzone.

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