Judge’s stay of Trump or­der trig­gers race to en­ter U.S.

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION - BY KAREN WEINTRAUB, MICHAEL E. MILLER AND JUSTIN JOUVENAL michael.miller@wash­post.com justin.jouvenal@wash­post.com Ian Shapira and Abi­gail Haus­lohner in Wash­ing­ton, Vera Haller in New York, Steve Freiss in Detroit, Leah Sotille in Port­land, Ore., Lor­net

bos­ton — Most of the more than 40 peo­ple from Iran who ar­rived at Lo­gan In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Satur­day af­ter­noon were ec­static, the first large wave of trav­el­ers to come to the United States a week af­ter Pres­i­dent Trump banned them from en­ter­ing the coun­try.

The de­ci­sion late Fri­day by a fed­eral judge to tem­po­rar­ily halt Trump’s de­nial of en­try to trav­el­ers from seven ma­jor­ity-Mus­lim coun­tries had cre­ated an open­ing — and in a fran­tic race on the other side of the globe, thou­sands of peo­ple rushed to book flights to the United States, un­cer­tain of how long the op­por­tu­nity would last.

Flights car­ry­ing pre­vi­ously barred trav­el­ers reached Lo­gan on Satur­day af­ter­noon, with more ex­pected at air­ports across the coun­try start­ing Sun­day.

But amid the eu­pho­ria and ex­cite­ment, the Jalili fam­ily of Iran passed through the check­points at Lo­gan and onto Amer­i­can soil in a heart­bro­ken state, even though their dream to em­i­grate — 10 years in the mak­ing — had been re­vived by the fed­eral judge.

At the last minute, af­ter pass­ing through se­cu­rity in the Tehran air­port, of­fi­cials would not let their old­est daugh­ter, 19-year-old Helya, board the Bos­ton-bound plane. She was kept back with about 15 oth­ers whose names were called. They got no ex­pla­na­tion.

Af­ter a quick and ag­o­niz­ing de­ci­sion, and with Helya’s urg­ing, the rest of the fam­ily boarded the plane with heavy hearts. They spent most of the flight cry­ing, next to Helya’s empty seat.

The fam­ily’s plight was em­blem­atic of the con­fu­sion that con­tin­ued Satur­day — even as gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and air­lines tried to re­store nor­malcy af­ter a week of chaos sur­round­ing the en­try ban — amid protests and le­gal chal­lenges, and af­ter the is­suance of the na­tion­wide stay.

“We were very, very sad last night,” said Hamid Jalili. “If [my daugh­ter] will come here to­mor­row, our glad­ness will be com­plete.” Only a small num­ber of cit­i­zens of the seven Mid­dle Eastern and North African coun­tries cov­ered in Trump’s ban­ning or­der ar­rived at U.S. air­ports Satur­day, but at­tor­neys rep­re­sent­ing them ex­pected a flood in the com­ing days.

Becca Heller, the di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Refugee As­sis­tance Project (IRAP) in New York, said con­sid­er­able prob­lems re­mained as cit­i­zens of the seven na­tions — Libya, Iran, Iraq, Ye­men, So­ma­lia, Su­dan and Syria — trick­led Satur­day into the United States.

“It’s just com­pletely un­clear what co­or­di­na­tion is hap­pen­ing. . . . What we’re wit­ness­ing is the Wild West of im­mi­gra­tion law,” she said. “And the peo­ple who are suf­fer­ing are the peo­ple who des­per­ately need to come to the U.S.”

She said her group is hear­ing re­ports from trav­el­ers of in­con­sis­ten­cies in how air­lines are com­ply­ing with the judge’s or­der; it ap­peared that some low-level em­ploy­ees of some car­ri­ers were still un­aware Satur­day that a stay of Trump’s ban had been is­sued.

Nev­er­the­less, Heller urged trav­el­ers to book flights soon, given the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s im­pend­ing chal­lenge of the stay, which was is­sued by U.S. District Judge James L. Ro­bart in Seat­tle but af­fects the en­tire na­tion.

“There’s a win­dow right now. No one knows how long the win­dow will last,” Heller said. “Peo­ple that need to get to the United States for an ur­gent rea­son should get on a plane as soon as pos­si­ble.”

IRAP was pre­par­ing pack­ets of in­for­ma­tion for trav­el­ers to present to author­i­ties if they en­counter any prob­lems. The doc­u­ments ex­plain their right to travel to the United States.

A num­ber of air­lines — in­clud­ing Qatar Air­ways, Eti­had Air­ways, Air France and Lufthansa — an­nounced that they would al­low trav­el­ers from the seven na­tions to board flights af­ter the State De­part­ment said Satur­day that it was restor­ing visas that had been re­voked un­der Trump’s Jan. 27 ex­ec­u­tive or­der.

And De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity work­ers were told at the start of their shifts to start pro­cess­ing trav­el­ers with visas as nor­mal.

The Jalili fam­ily and oth­ers at Lo­gan de­scribed few prob­lems when they ar­rived in the coun­try, a marked change from the pre­vi­ous week­end, when some trav­el­ers from coun­tries named in the ban­ning or­der were de­tained for hours and some sent out of the coun­try on re­turn flights.

Hamid and Ba­hareh Jalili and two of their daugh­ters, Helya and Hanya, 13, had been is­sued im­mi­grant visas to join Hamid’s brother, who moved to the United States 40 years ago, and the broth­ers’ re­cently wid­owed mother.

They had spent most of the first leg, from Tehran to Frank­furt, Ger­many, in shock af­ter be­ing sep­a­rated from Helya.

In Frank­furt, they re­ceived text mes­sages from Helya say­ing that their names had been called just af­ter they left — of­fi­cials had wanted to keep them, too. But the Seat­tle judge’s de­ci­sion, which came be­fore they left for Bos­ton, had shifted the sit­u­a­tion, and they were hope­ful again, Hamid said in halt­ing English.

Ar­riv­ing in Bos­ton, Ba­hareh with tears in her eyes and Hanya look­ing stunned, the fam­ily was greeted by a small but en­thu­si­as­tic crowd of well-wish­ers, lawyers and rel­a­tives of other pas­sen­gers.

The fam­ily ap­plied for visas in 2004. The visas came through at the end of Oc­to­ber, and the fam­ily de­cided to leave at the end of Jan­uary. Then came Trump’s en­try ban.

Broth­ers Reza and Hamid had not seen each other in three years. Hamid could not at­tend their fa­ther’s funeral last year. He wor­ried that his mother, 84 and with a heart ail­ment, would die be­fore he could reach the United States.

Reza had tried to re­as­sure Hamid when Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der was an­nounced. “I said, ‘There’s no way they can take this away from you.’ ” Now, he said, “I have egg on my face.”

Asked whether the sit­u­a­tion had changed his view of the United States, Reza Jalili said: “I’ve been here 40 years. You can­not change my view now.”

He said he was up­set that such a thing could hap­pen in what he called a coun­try of im­mi­grants, “but at the same time, I want to thank the other half of Amer­ica that has noth­ing to do with this.”

The Jalilis were not the only trav­el­ers who had to scram­ble to get on flights.

Syr­ian na­tional Nael Zaino had spent three days at air­ports, un­able to sleep be­cause his cell­phone kept buzzing with the lat­est news about Trump’s tem­po­rary ban on refugees and the U.S. courts’ re­ac­tion to the ban.

Zaino’s wife and 18-month-old son had re­ceived asy­lum and en­tered the United States last year; now he was in­creas­ingly des­per­ate to join them.

At the air­port in Istanbul, where he has lived since flee­ing Syria two years ago, Zaino was told a half-hour be­fore his flight was sched­uled to leave that he would not be al­lowed on. He had al­ready twice been barred from board­ing U.S.-bound flights.

He went to find a place to sit and wait for his next chance, when his name was called. The court had just re­versed the U.S. en­try ban and Zaino would be al­lowed to fly. He grabbed his bags and ran full-tilt to the gate, the last to board the Bos­ton flight.

He was still ner­vous when he landed, wor­ried that he would be sent back.

It sank in that he was safe, he said, only when a cus­toms of­fi­cer handed his pass­port back to him.

“He told me go start your new life with your son. Choose a very good doc­tor for him, a very good school,” Zaino said in ac­cented but fluid English, chok­ing back emo­tion.

As some waited for loved ones at air­ports, pro­test­ers in New York, Mi­ami, the District and other cities around the world turned out to ex­press anger at the en­try ban. Hun­dreds gath­ered near the White House in Lafayette Square.

Many in the crowd wore Statue of Lib­erty foam crowns or dis­played posters with the Statue of Lib­erty’s face plas­tered with the words: “Si­lence Equals Vi­o­lence.”

Jes­sica Fix, 27, of the District, at­tended Satur­day’s protest at the White House just as she did the pre­vi­ous week. She said she is Jewish and that her an­ces­tors had mi­grated to the United States from Rus­sia.

“In my opin­ion, this is how the Holo­caust started,” said Fix, a se­nior at the Univer­sity of Bal­ti­more. “It’s im­por­tant to come out and fight for peo­ple who are too scared to.”

Back at Lo­gan Air­port, im­mi­gra­tion lawyer Su­san Church spent the af­ter­noon keep­ing a record of ar­riv­ing for­eign­ers and of­fer­ing pro bono ser­vices from Amer­i­can lawyers.

As peo­ple from the listed coun­tries walked out of cus­toms and into Lo­gan’s lobby, lawyers and oth­ers cheered and of­fered them flow­ers, pas­tries and gift bags.


At Bos­ton Lo­gan In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Satur­day, Gol­noosh and Amir Khos­ro­jerdi await the ar­rival of Amir’s fa­ther, Ghasem, trav­el­ing from Iran, aboard a Lufthansa flight from Frank­furt, Ger­many.

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