Students share families’ perspectives on travel ban

The Sentinel conducted a survey in February surrounding political topics and social concerns, which included the ban of travelers from seven primarily Muslim countries. In order to show the personal side of the immigration issue, several students whose families hail from Iran, one of the seven banned countries, agreed to talk with The Sentinel. Here are their stories:

How and why did your parents immigrate to America?

Gracie Lauborough (senior): My dad moved from Iran in 1970 when he was 17. He came to America for a better education.

Doreen Hemmati (senior): My parents both immigrated to America to go to school and get better educations than they could get in Iran. My mom was a teacher and wanted more, so she came here and became an engineer. My dad did too, but now he owns his own business.

Milad Dehghan (junior): My dad immigrated to America from Iran because he wanted to go to college here. He graduated from Sac State and then a couple years later met my mother in Iran. Years later my mom moved to America so they could get married.

Tell me about your parents. How do they break common middle eastern stereotypes?

GL: Many people assume all middle eastern people are Muslim but my dad has never been a practicing Muslim.

DH: My parents break Middle Eastern stereotypes because we aren’t Muslim and they strongly advocate for me to express myself outside of our cultural values. After leaving Iran during the Islamic revolution, they wanted to make sure I have every opportunity to be equal that they didn’t, especially my mom.

MD: My dad is an electrical engineer and my mom is a pharmacy technician. My parents were never common Middle Eastern people. My mom and my dad wore normal American clothing and tended to communicate with many Americans.

How do you personally feel about the “Muslim Ban”?

GL: I am very against this ban. All my Iranian family members who moved to the U.S. have been very successful. They all dreamed of coming to America as a child and I’m disappointed this dream may be ruined for many families.

DH: The Muslim ban makes me very, very sad. I don’t know why they want to penalize countries full of beautiful caring people from entering, especially when people with green cards and visas were banned. My father had to stay in Europe for three years around the time of the Iran hostage crisis, even though he had a student visa. My grandparents live in Iran but my mom hesitates.

MD: I don’t think the countries that have been banned have any harm for the U.S. It isn’t fair for the countries to have been banned for no reason. Banning these countries will not make any American safer. It will just keep Americans divided.

How do your parents feel about it?

GL: My dad believes it is a bad decision and will do more harm than good.

DH: My dad thinks there is a hidden reason to the ban and just hopes it is for good and serious reasons that we just don’t know. My mom is very angry about it because it is causing problems.

MD: My parents have very similar views on the Muslim ban-they believe that it is not fair to ban millions of people from a country when those countries are not even harming Americans. Banning immigrants from coming to America will not benefit the U.S. because many immigrants like my dad came here for education and to bring benefits to the nation labeled as a “land of the free.”

Has this affected your family personally?

GL: Fortunately, no.

DH: We can’t see my very elderly grandparents. I just want to go see my maman jaan and agha jaan before time runs out. It’s sad that this is possibly preventing that.

MD: My grandma has a travel visa and isn’t able to go the United States because of the ban. My aunt, uncle, and cousin were planning to come to the U.S. for a vacation but now they no longer can. This ban has divided my family because no one can visit us and we can’t visit them.