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How the Travel Ban Is Ruining Lives

The New York Times has published the testimonies of a number of Americans affected by the travel ban. These include spouses who have been separated from each other, as well as those that have been cut off from being able to see their parents and other relatives in person for almost three years. These testimonies represent just a fraction of the people whose families and marriages have been harmed in some way by the arbitrary decision to ban nationals from Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, and Libya from entering the U.S. The testimony from Masoud Abdi, a doctor from Illinois, is particularly moving:

My wife is 42 years old and desperately wants to be a mother, but her time for this is very limited. Every day, when we talk to each other, she tells me how badly she wants to be a mother. It consumes her, and it breaks my heart that I cannot give her this wish.

My wife has become very depressed and she cries every day. She is so depressed that we no longer have good talks with each other.

I cannot explain in words how it all weighs on me emotionally. I am desperate. This makes me feel so helpless. I am destroyed inside, knowing this is even affecting her physical health. As a physician, I am familiar with the symptoms of depression, which I clearly see manifested in myself.

I am so disappointed in life. I wake up to support my wife, but really don’t have any hope to continue my life.

The travel ban is causing enormous hardship to many thousands of families like this one. There is no excuse for what is being done to these people, and it is all the more infuriating when we understand that the travel ban has absolutely no merit as a security measure. What we have seen over the last three years is the result of a policy that seeks to penalize innocent people solely because of where they happen to have been born. Here is another testimony from Hedieh Yazdanseta, a state government employee from New York:

I have been separated from my husband for three years. My husband is banned, simply because he was born in Iran, a country he did not choose. I live in New York with our children.

This January will be our third wedding anniversary, yet we have never celebrated together. He’s never been to our home on Long Island and he’s not here to help raise our children.

We are living our most precious moments through FaceTime and losing our youth to a travel ban that’s meant to tear families apart.

The ban not only separates husbands and wives, but as we have seen in previous reports it is also preventing engaged couples from going ahead with their weddings. Here is the testimony from Reza Pedram:

The hardship and pain both of us are experiencing due to the separation is unimaginable. It is too hard to be apart. Our lives are on hold and we cannot start anything new in our lives since we don’t know when and what is going to happen to us.

Dr. Abdi’s wife is obviously not a security threat, and neither are any of the other thousands of people prevented from coming to the U.S. by this cruel ban. The travel ban is not just a slap in the face to the people in the targeted countries, but it is a direct attack on the lives and well-being of American citizens as well. Imagine if the government were responsible for barring your spouse or parents from the country for years at a time, and ask yourself what could possibly justify such a policy. None of these people has done anything wrong, but they are made to suffer for no good reason because of a disgraceful presidential diktat.

The travel ban is an outrageous and unjust policy that the next administration should overturn as soon as it can.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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