Travel ban prompts Canadians to rally
Executive order puts chill on man’s plans to go to U.S. school
Hamoon Miri had planned to ring in his birthday in Las Vegas next month.
But the University of Saskatchewan chemistry student said he no longer has any intention of celebrating south of the border.
Miri, who holds dual Canadian and Iranian citizenship, is among those targeted by a travel ban issued by United States President Donald Trump. The executive order signed by Trump this week forbids people with citizenship from the predominantly Muslim countries of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya from entering the United States in the next three months.
It also bans refugees from Syria indefinitely, pending a review of the application process.
The Canadian government issued assurances late Saturday that Canadian passport holders will not be caught up in the American travel ban, but Miri has already cancelled his plane tickets.
“Even if I’m allowed, it’s kind of pointless to go right now. I don’t feel, even if a Canadian has a right to go, it would be nice,” he said. “I think you could understand the frustration. You feel discriminated.”
He’s also having second thoughts about travelling to the United States in the spring for an interview with an American university. Not only is he concerned about complications about travel to the interview, he’s worried about what life will be like in the United States if he chooses to study there.
“I’d just rather — right now — stay in Canada, somewhere where I’m comfortable and I feel more welcome. Because with all this uncertainty that’s going around, you will never know what’s going to happen next,” he said.
Mohammad Rafati, an Iranian citizen and recent graduate of the University of Saskatchewan who recently moved to Vancouver on a postgraduate work permit, was told Saturday he could not board a flight from Vancouver to Las Vegas. He was to present his university research at a conference for engineers specializing in heating and air conditioning.
Rafati said he had recently obtained a single entry visa to enter the United States and was confused about why he was suddenly not allowed into the country. It wasn’t until he turned on the radio and listened to the news on the way home from the airport that he realized what was happening.
Upset about the situation, he wrote about the ordeal on Facebook and was overwhelmed by people’s responses.
“It was a bit of an unpleasant experience, but when I shared my story with friends there was just so much support from my Canadian friends,” Rafati said. “Now I feel even more at home than before so maybe that instance happened to help me feel more happy about what I have right now and being happy with where I live.”
Reaction to Trump’s travel ban has been swift and forceful around the world.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada will welcome those who can’t enter the United States because of Trump’s executive order and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said the province is prepared to help the federal government in this respect.
Wall and other premiers — the majority of whom have publicly stated their willingness to help those stranded as a result of the travel ban — had a conference call with Trudeau Sunday afternoon to discuss the issue.
“It’s encouraging: We have premiers representing the entire political spectrum in every region of the country who have been very public in saying we can have a different response to this issue in the country and we should,” Wall said.
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark also issued a statement of support for those who can no longer enter the United States.
“We will continue to welcome refugees and new Canadians to Saskatoon. I believe our strength as a city lies in our capacity to be an inclusive, resilient, and compassionate city for all,” Clark said in the release, adding that he would support Trudeau and Wall in their commitments to assist those affected by the ban.