NEW YORK â€” Travellers from the seven Muslim-majority countries targeted by President Donald Trump who were denied entry into the United States a week ago are arriving at airports around the country and into the open arms of their loved ones.
Fariba Tajrostami, a 32-year-old painter from Iran, came through the gate at New York’s Kennedy Airport on Sunday with a huge smile and tears in her eyes as her brothers greeted her with joyful hugs.
“I’m very happy. I haven’t seen my brothers for nine years,” she said.
Tajrostami had tried to fly to the U.S. from Turkey over a week ago, but was turned away.
“I was crying and was so disappointed,” she said. “Everything I had in mind, what I was going to do, I was so disappointed about everything. I thought it was all over.”
Tajrostami said she hopes to study art in the U.S. and plans to join her husband in Dallas soon. He moved from Iran six months ago, has a green card and is working at a car dealership.
Similar scenes played out across the U.S. after a federal judge in Seattle on Friday suspended the president’s travel ban and after a federal appeals court denied the Trump administration’s request to set aside the ruling.
The U.S. cancelled the visas of up to 60,000 foreigners in the week after the ban on travel from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen took effect, according to the State Department. Trump also suspended nearly all refugee admissions for 120 days and barred Syrian refugees indefinitely.
The order triggered protests and a multitude of legal challenges around the country and blocked numerous college students, researchers and others from entering the U.S.
Trump, who said the goal was to keep terrorists from slipping into the country, lashed out against U.S. District Judge James Robart for putting the ban on hold. He referred to Robart as a “so-called judge” and called the ruling “ridiculous.”
On Sunday, the president tweeted: “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”
Iranian researcher Nima Enayati, a Ph.D. candidate at a university in Milan, was prevented from boarding a flight to the U.S. on Jan. 30. He had a visa to conduct research on robotic surgery at Stanford University in California.
On Sunday night, he arrived in New York.
“It feels great finally I’m here,” Enayati said at JFK. “Considering the last 10 days we had no idea if we’ll be able to make it or not.”
Enayati said he feels safe for now, but worries that the travel ban could inhibit research in the future.
“We always had this open collaboration around the world,” he said. “We never had concerns about whether we would be able to go somewhere physically or not.”
Mahsa Azabadi, 29, an Iranian-American who lives in Denver, was forced to put her wedding plans on hold after her fiance, Sorena Behzadfar, was turned away when he tried to board a plane to travel from Iran to the U.S. on Jan. 28.
Over the weekend, though, Behzadfar was cleared for travel and was expected to arrive at Boston’s Logan Airport on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s been a really tough week to figure out what will happen to us,” said Azabadi, who has lived in the U.S. for 11 years and is now a U.S. citizen.
The couple is hoping to keep their wedding date of May 12.
“Seeing the support from the lawyers and different people trying to help, it was really nice,” she said. “We want to be the best and do the best for the people and for this country. We would love to have the opportunity.”
Associated Press writer Emery Dalesio contributed to this report from Raleigh, North Carolina. Lavoie contributed from Boston.
William Mathis And Denise Lavoie, The Associated Press