Yahya Abu Romman stands outside his family's home in downtown Amman. The 22-year-old was deported from the U.S. after landing in Chicago at the end of January with a valid visa. He says border officers questioned why he holds a Jordanian passport when he was born in Syria.
With just three powerful words, a Syrian-born, Jordanian-raised 22-year-old summed up the way the world views America now that Donald Trump is “president.” Because of Trump, people not born in the U.S. are not welcome. Sad, but true
Yahya Abu Romman, a 22-year-old languages major, had just graduated from university. To celebrate, he planned a six-week trip to the U.S., where his brother, uncles and aunts and more than a dozen cousins have lived for years.
In 2015, Abu Romman was issued a tourist visa at the U.S. embassy in Amman, good for five years. With money from a graduation present, he bought a round-trip ticket and landed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport a few days after the start of President Trump’s travel ban on the citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.
“My dad is a graduate from the University of Illinois,” says Abu Romman. “He always told me America is the land of justice, land of opportunities, of generosity. That there are very kind people. And there are. But I think things have changed.”
Abu Romman is a Jordanian citizen, but born in Syria. He’s been to Syria only once since birth — and being born in an Arab country doesn’t automatically confer citizenship there. Instead, citizenship is generally based your father’s nationality. Still, Abu Romman couldn’t persuade the border officer at O’Hare that he wasn’t Syrian.
CBP officers took his jacket, his belt, his phone and his shoelaces, he says, and put him in a cold cell with a steel door and open toilet, along with five other people.
Abu Romman had visited the United States once before, when he was in the sixth grade, and has wonderful memories of that trip.
“They were so welcoming – ‘Come to us. See our beautiful land,'” he says. “Now they’re telling you not to come, please. ‘You’re not welcome.'” WOW! Talk about ridiculousness.
I can assure you, Yahya, that the majority of Americans don’t feel about immigrants and visitors the same way as Trump and his fanbase. This is a travesty. With rawprogressive.com & npr.org