‘I am still hope­ful’

Ira­nian re­searcher, oth­ers head to U.S. as travel ban eases

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD - BY COLLEEN BARRY AND TAMMY WEB­BER THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ira­nian bio­engi­neer Nima Enay­ati saw for him­self what a dif­fer­ence a few days can make.

Enay­ati was pre­vented from board­ing a Turk­ish Air­lines flight to the United States on Mon­day af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s travel ban against seven Mus­lim na­tions took ef­fect. The move threw into dis­ar­ray his plans to con­duct re­search at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity’s CHARMLAB on ro­botic surgery, part of his PhD. stud­ies at Mi­lan’s Polytech­nic Uni­ver­sity.

On Satur­day, as soon as he heard that a court had blocked Trump’s travel ban, Enay­ati started call­ing ev­ery air­line he could, look­ing for the quick­est, most direct flight to any­where in the United States.

A day later, just hours af­ter a U.S. ap­peals court blocked the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s at­tempt to re-im­pose the travel ban, the 29-year-old checked in Sun­day for an Emi­rates Air­line flight direct from Mi­lan’s Malpensa air­port to New York’s JFK.

Enay­ati said the check-in went smoothly, de­spite all the un­cer­tainty of the last week.

“The lady at the check-in desk wasn’t sure, be­cause the rules are chang­ing so quickly. She just asked for con­fir­ma­tion,” Enay­ati said. “She just ac­tu­ally told me she per­son­ally would be scared to go to the United States now.”

But Enay­ati doesn’t share her trep­i­da­tion.

“What is the worst case thing that can hap­pen? I just come back” to Italy, he said.

Enay­ati is rea­son­ably con­fi­dent he will get into the U.S. this time — de­spite the gov­ern­ment’s flip-flop on visa re­quire­ments — be­cause he read that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion won’t make its next move to re­in­state the ban un­til at least to­day.

“I am go­ing to get there Sun­day, so I am still hope­ful,” he said.

Enay­ati falls into the highly tal­ented cat­e­gory of re­searchers and im­mi­grants seek­ing en­try into the United States. He re­ceived his bach­e­lor’s de­gree in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing in Tehran and has a mas­ter’s de­gree from Mi­lan Polytech­nic, where he is work­ing on his PhD. Still, he has con­tacts for le­gal help in the United States if he needs it.

Since this is his first trip to the United States, he plans to spend a cou­ple days in New York be­fore go­ing on to San Francisco.

“I may as well stop there. I fig­ure it may be the last time there for a cou­ple of years,” he said.

Ad­vo­cates in the U.S. are telling peo­ple to get on the ear­li­est flights they can find af­ter the week-old travel ban against those from seven Mus­lim coun­tries was blocked Fri­day by U.S. District Judge James Ro­bart in Seat­tle.

The fed­eral ap­peals court in San Francisco de­nied Trump’s ef­fort to im­me­di­ately re­in­state the ban early Sun­day. For now, it re­mains blocked by a judge’s tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der, and fed­eral of­fi­cials have told their staffs to com­ply.

“We’re telling them to get on the quick­est flight ASAP,” said Rula Aoun, di­rec­tor of the Arab Amer­i­can Civil Rights League in Dear­born, Mich. Her group has sued in fed­eral court in Detroit, chal­leng­ing Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der as un­con­sti­tu­tional.

At Cairo Air­port on Sun­day, of­fi­cials said a to­tal of 33 U.S.bound mi­grants from Ye­men, Syria and Iraq boarded flights on their way to the United States.

The of­fi­cials said the 33 had not pre­vi­ously been turned back but were mi­grants rush­ing to take ad­van­tage of the win­dow of­fered by the court rul­ing.

They spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to speak to the me­dia.

AP PHOTO

Ira­nian-born bio­engi­neer re­searcher Nima Enay­ati talks on his phone at Mi­lan’s Malpensa in­ter­na­tional air­port in Busto Ar­sizio, Italy. Just hours af­ter an ap­peals court blocked an at­tempt to re-im­pose the travel ban, Enay­ati checked in on an Emi­rates Air­line flight direct from Mi­lan’s Malpensa air­port to New York’s JFK on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

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