Refugee at USC fears for his sister and her family still in Iraq
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday could mean a S.C. family will have to wait up to six months to be reunited with a family member who they believe is in danger but is blocked from coming to the United States.
Shahad Alibadi already has been waiting for more than a year to leave her native Iraq to join her family in the United States, after her brother and mother were resettled as refugees in Columbia last summer.
Now, she will be waiting longer after the high court allowed the Trump administration to move forward with suspending the refugee program for 120 days.
“This thing with the ban is like a bad movie,” said Zaid Alibadi, Shahad’s brother and a University of South Carolina graduate student. “Every month there’s more news. ... No one knows what’s the end to this drama.”
The court’s ruling does allow travelers with a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States to enter the country. But it is unclear if the Alibadis’ family ties would supercede the refugee freeze.
Zaid Alibadi worked with the U.S. military in Iraq and at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, putting his family in danger, he says. While his mother and brother were resettled, Shahad Alibadi still was waiting to schedule an interview with U.S. immigration officials when Monday’s ruling came down.
As the Iraqi army makes progress against the Islamic State, Zaid worries about his sister’s safety if Iraqi cities are targeted by terrorists.
“I’m fearing it will be like it was three or four years ago, when car bombs were the norm,” Alibadi said. “You go shopping, and horrible stuff can happen.”