BP Adams: American Dream turned into ‘nightmare’ for Brooklyn student stranded by Trump’s ban

Rally for Saira Rafiee, trapped in Iran

January 31, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BP Eric Adams at Monday’s rally for stranded CUNY student Saira Rafiee, stranded in Iran following President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Photo by Mary Frost
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said the American Dream “appears to have turned into an American nightmare” for Saira Rafiee, a young woman enrolled at the CUNY Graduate Center who is being denied re-entry by President Donald Trump’s immigration and refugee ban.

Adams, at a press conference outside the federal courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn on Monday, called the chaos playing out across the country a “horrific condition, a state of total disorder that was created by the president of the United States in issuing an order that bans Muslims from coming into this country from particular [countries].”

As CUNY students chanted and waved signs saying “Let her in!” Adams said that Rafiee was “representative of the countless number of students who are in a state of limbo and uncertainty.”

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Roughly 120 CUNY students are affected by the ban, along with several hundred SUNY students, officials said. CUNY recommended that immigrant and non-immigrant students, faculty and staff from the seven affected countries avoid traveling outside of the U.S.

Rafiee, a Prospect-Lefferts Gardens resident, was on vacation during her winter break to see family members in her native Iran. She was told by customs officials in the United Arab Emirates that she would be unable to return to school in New York City.

Rafiee writes on her Facebook page that she was about to check in at the airport when she was told that she would not be able to re-enter the U.S.

“I had to stay there for nearly 18 hours, along with 11 other Iranians, before getting on the flight back to Tehran. I have no clue whether I would ever be able to go back to the school I like so much, or to see my dear friends there,” she wrote.

Barbara Bowen, president of the CUNY Professional Staff Congress, said she would fight for “the simple right of someone who has legal status, who has been thoroughly vetted, who is on a visa, simply to rejoin her fellow students, faculty, staff and resume her studies.”

Adams said that now Rafiee is “afraid to come forward and speak because she is going through a visa application and a green card application. She feels as though if she shows her face in this climate that she will be in someway penalized and prevented from moving forward with her dream of participating in the American Dream — which appears to have turned into an American nightmare.”

He added, “If today we ban Muslims, who do we ban next in this country?”


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