I can no longer see my family because of the Muslim ban — here’s my story, unfiltered
Editor’s note: This piece was written for Global Young Voices by Nadia, a young Christian American resident from Syria who is directly affected by Trump’s Muslim ban.
This quote from one of the United States’ most famous folk songs has stuck with me for a long time. “Wow, such powerful words for a beautiful country,” I always believed.
America was the land of opportunity for me. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of one day living the American dream.
Four years ago, that dream came true. I was living in Dubai to finish my doctorate in pharmacy when a close friend of mine invited me over to her house in Boston in 2011. Little did I know that that would be the place where I would meet the love of my life, a tall, handsome man with the most charming smile. I instantly fell in love.
I had to go back to Dubai but we kept in touch. We started dating when he came to visit me that same year. Long distance was awful, the time difference was exhausting and I was on the edge of giving up. But eventually, I made a decision to move to America so we could be together.
I graduated in November 2013 and left Dubai for good the following month. I left everything behind, my friends, my parents and my sisters, seeking a better life.
I came on a student visa to pursue a master in science, but let’s be honest, I just wanted to be with my man. The happiest day with him was when we tied the knot in June 2015.
After that, I applied for my green card and it was approved pretty quickly. My husband is a captain in the U.S. army and I couldn’t be prouder.
I loved living in America. It gave me opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else. I grew a lot and I was free, or at least I thought I was.
My American dream turned against me the day President Donald Trump signed the executive order banning the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including mine, from entering the U.S. When I saw the news, I realized I probably won’t be able to see my mother, father and sisters for the next four years.
I came to the U.S. for a better life and a better future, but definitely not this.
I thought I would be living in a free world. Now I’m afraid that if I leave the country I’d be detained on my way back to my house, to my husband. I've always respected the law and abided by it. I married the love of my life who’s in the U.S. army, protecting the rights and freedoms in this country. I hold a green card, I work legally and I pay taxes just like every citizen or permanent resident.
Now, I’m suddenly banned from entering the country where I thought I would have a better future for myself and my future kids.
Even more importantly, I have to suffer because my senior parents can’t visit me anymore. I also can’t go tour Europe with my husband or spend Christmas with my sisters in Germany.
I am heartbroken. This is not the America I discovered, nor the one I dreamed about when I was a child. I’m a prisoner in a country where I thought nothing could stand in the way of my freedom or that of every American.
My immigration lawyer flat out told me, “Do not leave this country under any circumstances.” I am now forbidden to see my parents and hug my sisters.
As of today, my American dream remains yet again just a dream.