Legal Uncertainty On Travel Ban Worries Immigrants, Refugees

Feb 6, 2017

Syrian refugees and others are rushing to enter the U.S. while a judge is temporarily blocking President Donald Trump’s travel ban. But the uncertainty over whether the suspension will last is causing turmoil for people in Florida.

Credit (UNRWA via AP, File)

Panama City dentist Yahia Abdul-Rahim said he’s scared to leave the country. Abdul-Rahim has a green card and fled the civil war in Syria in 2012. He wants his parents in Syria to meet his wife and two small children.

“Like, my brother in Turkey lost his office and his house, so he doesn’t work now," he said. "There is no income. He has a family. My sister, the same thing. I’m supporting two-three families. I don’t want to put myself and put themselves at risk financially by taking that risk.”

A state social service agency, Lutheran Services Florida, is taking advantage of the stay. About a dozen people from Iraq and Syria will arrive to new homes in the state in the next few days.

Stacy Martin, with LFS, said over the past few days her organization has been working with the State Department to move refugees into the U.S. while it can.

“There’s really nothing definitive," she said. "It’s just trying to get as many refugees who’ve been approved in before the possibility - since the possibility there will be a suspension again.”

The travel ban had been in place for just a week, but administration officials say it affected tens of thousands of people around the world.

The ban blocked all refugees coming in for 120 days and barred Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. The Trump Administration is appealing to reinstate the ban.