Young People Impacted by Trump's Travel Ban Share Their Experiences

January 30th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

An executive order signed by President Donald Trump Friday stopped travel of all people from seven Muslim countries — Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for 90 days, banned Syrian refugees indefinitely, and halted the admission of all refugees for 120 days.

The order also ensnared many young people living in the U.S. and traveling abroad.


The implementation of the executive order led to confusion about whether legal visa holders should be detained at airports, and what permanent green card holders and dual citizens abroad should do to get back into the United States. Many people were detained at airports over the weekend in the U.S. while others were sent back from where they came before a federal judge stepped in, according to CNN.

ATTN: talked to three young people affected by Trump's travel ban and the emotional toll they say it's cost them in recent days.

Sheriffa Mohammed Khalil Osman, 25, is a dual citizen of the United States and Sudan.

Sheriffa Mohammed Khalil Osman

Osman is living in London, and just finished her master's degree at Regent's University. Her parents met in college in Washington, D.C., with her father from Sudan and her mother from Virginia. Osman was raised in Sudan until she was 16 years old, and she goes back to visit a couple times a year.

Her father, who only has a Sudanese passport, was scheduled to have eye surgery in February in Washington, D.C., but he had to cancel his trip because of the travel ban. Dual-American citizens should be able to re-enter the U.S., Osman said she's worried about increased scrutiny at American airports, so she may cancel her own trip this summer.

"I think that now more than ever before in the past, I am able to sympathize with other minority groups in America and their struggle to feel truly American," she said. "I think the U.S. is currently going through a civil war of ideologies."

When she heard about the ban, it made her question if the U.S. could still be "home."

Anmar Jerjees, 20, is a student at Davidson College in North Carolina.

Anmar Jerjees

Jerjees is a dual citizen of Iraq and the U.S., and he's a member of Davidson Refugee Support, which is an organization designed to help refugees in the local community. He was born in Iraq, then lived in Syria before receiving asylum in the U.S. He became an American citizen in 2014.

"I have plans of visiting my home country of Iraq this summer but chances are I will not be able to do so anymore as a result of the ban," he said. "Although, I’m an American citizen, I could very well be detained or denied entrance back into the United States." He added that his uncle lives in Canada, and they won't be able to see each other any time soon.

"I felt completely betrayed as a result of the ban," he said. "This is the complete opposite of what I thought the American values were about."

Rami Ahmed Abdalla, 24, is a citizen of Sudan who has lived in the United States for nearly 19 years.

Rami Ahmed Abdalla

When ATTN: spoke to Abdalla on Monday, he was in Sudan for a wedding but now he's not sure what will happen when he flies back to Virginia. His mother and siblings are citizens while he and his father are long-time legal residents with green cards. When he heard about the executive order in Sudan he said he became very emotional.

"I wasn't ready for it, at all, and I kind of broke down," he said. "I was really emotional about it. Being away from home and then someone telling you 'that's not your home anymore' - it kind of hurt me personally. That's pretty messed up."

Abdalla said that he had trouble sleeping for most of the weekend but the protests he saw on Sunday gave him hope.

"The support that everybody gave was great and seeing the protests of these horrible executive orders where the majority people were Christians, atheists, and from every walk of life was amazing," he said. "Every ethnicity was out there protesting, and you know what? I was like I can beat this - that literally uplifted me in an instant."

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