As an immigrant from Iran, I was outraged by Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign, but I never thought that he would actually act upon the principles he preached if elected or I would be affected even if he did. I was proved wrong sooner than I imagined; on January 27, President Donald Trump issued his ninth executive order halting all refugee admissions and temporarily barring people from seven Muslim majority countries, including Iran, from entering the United States. It was only his seventh day in office.
That day was my first time watching the news and realizing that it directly impacted me and my family. Under the executive order, all permanent residents (green card holders) like my mother and I were initially advised not to leave the country if we wanted to come back, and my father, who worked outside of the country, was prohibited to re-enter the States. It was hard to believe that now me and my family were considered to be a threat.
For the past three years that I have lived in DC, I have not seen anything but hospitality and compassion from Americans. Everyday, I’ve tried to learn something new about the United States, from knowledge about Abe Lincoln’s beard and “football,” to the Electoral College and, of course, English. It has been very easy for me to call America home. However, after January 27, it appeared to me that my short journey in America had come to an end.
Although it took only one day for Reince Priebus, Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, to clarify in an interview with MSNBC that the Executive Order will not affect green card holders going forward. It was not this, but something else, that brought hope back into my sight. It was the protests at airports and emails from my American friends and teachers who reassured me that I was not alone. While I can not be certain about what the future holds, I am now certain, more than ever, that despite the difficulties Trump’s order has placed, America is my second home.
During history classes, there were several moments, such as when we learned about slavery or the Holocaust, when we had to consider what we would have done if we lived at that time. What these 24 days of Trump America has proved to us is that there will be many of those moments during the next four years, yet we can not afford to be mere spectators of history. It is our responsibility to fight for our values and prove that through strength and unity, we will persevere.
PHOTO BY SY’QUAN CLARK