In a time when so many are fearful, first person accounts of how a political issue is impacting those being targeted is important. As much as we can, we’ll try to share these stories with you as North Carolinians are being affected by these real-time events. We invite you to read one such story:
As Iranians, many of us are accustomed to feeling misunderstood, hated, and unwelcome in the U.S., even those of us who were born here or who have lived here for most of our lives. Trump’s executive action on immigration has already affected my family in a myriad ways.
My elderly mother, who is a dual citizen, has had to postpone a trip to Iran indefinitely. We worry she may never see her homeland again or that she could be prevented from re-entering the U.S. if she tried. My brother has had to postpone international business trips out of fear that he will be hassled at the airport for holding a passport showing Iran as his birthplace. Ironically, after 9/11, he legally changed his name to avoid such situations, hoping that his new Anglicized first name coupled with our American father’s last name would help him “blend in” more easily. The repercussions of the travel ban would be even more dire for Iranians like my cousin’s elderly mother, who visits the U.S. several times a year to see her children and grandchildren and to get much needed medications that she is unable to acquire in Iran due to U.S. sanctions.
My family–and the families of many of my fellow Iranian-American friends–includes doctors, professors, and scientists who will all be affected by Trump’s actions. These people have contributed to American society in innumerable ways. Now it appears our country is turning its back on us and making us second-class citizens yet again. Indeed, echoes of the hostile post-9/11 atmosphere are resounding loudly. With regard to Iran itself, Hadi Ghaemi (of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran) argues that
“by excluding all Iranians, Trump is only making it harder for the most promising elements of Iranian society to stand up to their repressive system and change their country for the better.”
However, the outpouring of support shown by thousands of Americans over the weekend and the tireless efforts of immigration lawyers, the ACLU, and the National Iranian American Council give us hope. Our fears have not abated despite Sunday’s positive developments, but we remain steadfast in our belief that we should not have to hide who we are or where we were born. We cannot. We will not. The fight continues.