Bay Area Iranian Couple Reunite After Travel Ban Separates Them

By Susie Steimle

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KPIX 5) — When Hamid Kargaran first heard about President Donald Trump’s executive order on travel restrictions, he didn’t want to believe it.

He’s a U.S. citizen and his wife is a green card holder.

She went to Iran in early January to visit family and on Friday, she was one of the many permanent residents told they could not come home for three months.

Her husband fought to make sure that didn’t happen.

“I remember I was driving back from work. I was like, ‘That’s impossible!'” Kargaran said. “By definition, they’re permanent residents, so how is that even possible?”

He was one of dozens of Bay Area residents waiting for family members to return from one of the seven countries on the list for temporary travel bans.

His wife has a U.S. green card but when he heard the news he told her to book the first flight available.

Friday night she was stopped in Iran.

“They told her you can’t board,” Kargaran said.

Ever since then, he’s been scrambling for information, just trying to bring his wife home.

“I haven’t slept well for I don’t know how many days now,” Kargaran explained.

Lawyers are on hand waiting for people like Kargaran and his wife at San Francisco International Airport urging them not to sign any documents before leaving customs.

There’s a fear growing that some might be misled into signing away their rights, making the long wait even more painful.

“It’s just unbelievable.” Kargaran said. “I just don’t think this is fair.”

Finally after four hours and two quarantines, Ellie Iranfard came home to her husband on Monday.

Iranfard said, “It’s like you go grocery shopping, you come home, and you feel like someone changed the locks and you cannot come home.”

For now, all that matters is that the couple is back together, but Kargaran knows they’re a long way from feeling comfortable in the country they call home.

“I’m starting to worry about her green card and what’s going to happen with her family,” Kargaran said. “Is she going to be able to see them again?”

The lawyers at SFO are worried about people signing what’s called an I-407, it’s a legal document agreeing to abandon your permanent resident status.

Those lawyers will remain on hand at airports around the country making sure those who want to stay can stay.

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