Travel Ban Suspension Has Immigrants Hustling To Get To U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KPIX 5) — Nobody knows how long the ban will be suspended, so travelers from the affected countries are getting on planes and getting to the U.S. as fast as they can.

Family and friends waited anxiously at San Francisco International Airport on Monday, waiting to see if their loved ones would be allowed to enter the country.

Abdul-Malik Harbi hopes the second time’s the charm for his 5-year-old nephew, a citizen of Yemen who was prevented from flying to the U.S. with his parents, when the President first announced his executive order.

Harbi’s nephew was rejected at the airport, while trying to board his flight. But the second time appears to be going more smoothly.

“Thankfully, he did get on the plane,” Harbi said Monday.

For countless families like Harbi’s, days of fear and confusion have been largely replaced with cautious optimism after a federal judge blocked enforcement of the President’s travel ban.

At SFO, immigration attorneys and community activists continue to offer free legal services to families of passengers traveling from the seven predominately Muslim countries covered by the ban.

Immigration attorney Morgan Weibel said, “We are a nation that was founded on immigrants. All of us have an immigration background unless we’re Native American. And I would like to see us uphold that.”

Weibel opposes the ban, believing it hurts too many innocent travelers in an effort to weed out would-be terrorists.

“We have in place this extreme vetting process of refugees that’s there to protect the U.S. from any sort of harm. It’s been functioning and working in place,” Weibel said.

Navid Lajevardi is the father of a passenger expected to arrive at SFO. While at the airport on Monday, he told KPIX 5, “I’m not going to give up. This is my right to have my family with me [and] live in this beautiful country.”

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