I find it hard to believe that a nation of immigrants is refusing entry to other immigrants, based for the most part, on the immigrant’s religion. But for Donald Trump and his Republican backers, this is exactly the outcome they are after.
Hours after landing in New York on Saturday, a doctor at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic was forced to leave the country based on an executive order issued by President Donald Trump that bans visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days.
Her flight to Saudi Arabia took off minutes before a federal judge in New York put a temporary stay on turning back people in such situations.
Suha Abushamma, 26, is in the first year of an Internal Medicine residency program at the clinic and held an H-1B visa for workers in “specialty occupations.” Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, she holds a passport from Sudan, one of the seven countries from which Trump barred visitors.
On Saturday evening, Abushamma was forced to make a choice by Customs and Border Protection agents: She could leave the country voluntarily and withdraw her visa — or she could be forcibly deported, which would have prevented her from coming back to the United States for at least five years. The latter also would have resulted in a permanent black mark on her immigration record.
She asked for a delay but was refused, she said in a FaceTime interview with ProPublica while she was flying over the Atlantic on her way back to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is not one of the countries on Trump’s list, but because Abushamma’s passport is from Sudan, she was told she is covered by the executive order.
“I’m only in this country to be a doctor, to work and to help people — that’s it,” she said. “There’s no other reason.”