Syrian family reunited with loved ones just ahead of travel ban
A Pompton Plains family says that they are happy to be reunited with loved ones who were able to make it to the United States before President Donald Trump's travel restrictions went into effect.
Ismail Alsaker and Fatima Zakaria fled war-torn Syria three years ago and have been living in Turkey. They applied for entry to the U.S. two years ago and were accepted. But when they heard about Trump's executive order, they rushed to speed up their timetable.
"We called them and told them to leave immediately," says family member Janti Kasim. "They were seven hours away from the airport. They packed anything they had, they put it in their bag. That was Wednesday."
The relatives arrived in America around 1 p.m. Friday, four hours before the executive order was signed. The order temporarily bans citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The Trump administration says better vetting of people from those countries needs to be put into place.
The decision sparked protests around the country as people coming into the United States were detained by immigration officials. Even people with visas and green cards were detained for a bit.
The relatives say that despite everything, they love the country that reunited them with their relatives.
"The American people are very good people, very generous. They love other people and they love human rights," they said through a translator.
The relatives were slated to travel to the United States Tuesday. If they had stuck with that plan, they say that they probably would not have made it into the U.S.