Iranian turned away by Trump travel ban back in US

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (R) talks with Iranian citizen Ali Vayeghan as he arrives at Los Angeles International Airport on February 2, 2017.

An Iranian man denied entry into the United States following President Donald Trump’s travel ban was back in Los Angeles — the first person allowed to return to the country under a judge’s ruling.

Ali Vayeghan, who for 12 years had been waiting to immigrate to the US to join family, was met by his brother, his niece and a crowd of supporters at Los Angeles airport chanting “This Land is Your Land.”

“This is what humanity looks like,” the 61-year-old said in Farsi, as his niece translated. “This is what human rights looks like. I am shocked, honored and awed.”

He said he was not mad at anyone, adding: “This is the greatest country in the world.” The green card holder was forcibly carried on a plane back to Dubai after arriving in Los Angeles last Friday, shortly after Trump’s temporary ban targeting seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, came into effect.

Acting on an emergency motion by attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union and an immigration lawyer, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order calling on Vayeghan to be allowed into the country.

However, the order came too late and on Saturday Vayeghan was carried onto a plane by immigration officers and sent to the United Arab Emirates. The judge subsequently amended her order, instructing US officials to facilitate Vayeghan’s return to the United States.

Trump’s executive order suspends entry of all refugees to the US for 120 days, bars Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocks citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entry into the US for 90 days.

The order, which caused mayhem worldwide and has been met with legal challenges, was later clarified to say that green card holders were not targeted by the ban.


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