Halted travel ban brings hope to couple


Photo Courtesy of Mahdieh Jadali

Mahdieh Jadaliha, a cell and developmental biology Ph.D. candidate, was supposed to see her husband, Mohsen Jamali, for the first time in two years. President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban changed those plans. A federal judge stopped the executive order, renewing her hope.

By Angelica LaVito, Staff Writer

Federal Judge James Robart from Seattle halted President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven Middle Eastern countries to the U.S. Robart ruled on the ban Friday, and the Department of Justice filed an appeal over the weekend.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rejected the appeal Sunday night.

The ongoing legal battle has left many families in turmoil. One of them is University student Mahdieh Jadaliha, a cell and developmental biology Ph.D candidate.

Jadaliha has not seen her husband in two and a half years. Her husband, Mohsen Jamali, lives in Iran.

Jadaliha and Jamali were married July 16, 2011. They last saw each other Aug. 12, 2014. They traveled together to Vancouver, Canada, to attend the International Society for Stem Cell Research’s annual meeting.

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    They went to Iran to reapply for visas since they allowed them to enter the U.S. only once. She returned to the U.S. later in August. He has yet to return.

    The process stalled for two years. He received an email in January 2017 notifying him that his visa was approved.

    Jadaliha didn’t know about the approval; Jamali wanted to surprise her.

    His plans changed days later when President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entry from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

    “Honestly, it’s really hard,” Jadaliha said. “It’s more than 900 days. I haven’t seen my husband even for a while because I’m still in here, and I’m on an F-1, single-entry visa.”

    Jadaliha called him after the executive order was announced and relayed stories about her friends who would not be able to see relatives because of it.

    Jamali told her, “Oh Mahdieh, I didn’t want to tell you this, but I’m sending you an email. Just look at that. I don’t want to say that, but I think you should know it.”

    She opened the email and saw what would have been good news.

    “I was so sad, so disappointed,” she said.

    Though Jamali’s visa has already been approved, the U.S. embassy needs to stamp it. They were not allowed to before the court ruling. They are now.

    There is not a U.S. Embassy in Iran; Iranians must travel to other countries to obtain visas. Jamali’s visa is waiting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

    Still, Jadaliha remains cautiously optimistic.

    “I’m not relaxed. I’m not confident because there is very huge uncertainty about everything these days,” she said. “One day and one night. We have a lot of news, some contradictory.”

    Jamali will use a service that retrieves visas for Iranians. The process could take two weeks. He would still need to book a flight.

    And the clock may be ticking.

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