The past few years have been tough and confusing for many families separated by the Trump administration’s travel ban to Muslim majority countries.
Now that President Biden is reversing policy, a family in San Diego has received promising news that they should be able to see their relative in a few weeks.
San Diegan Negar Sadegholvad has been separated from her husband, Kourosh Sepahpour, an Iranian citizen, for three years. They share a son Borna, almost 4 years old, who only saw his father a couple of times when they traveled to Iran.
The family says Biden’s lifting of the travel ban brings them back together after 3 years. Papa, Kourosh Sepahpour is Iranian and was in the middle of the green card process when the ban began. Mother Negar and son Borna are expecting him in a few weeks! @nbcsandiego pic.twitter.com/IXXUZ5vRjK
– Jackie Crea (@JackieCreaTV) February 12, 2021
Sadegholvad has been measuring her life in the missed moments lately. The couple met at a wedding in Iran and began dating for two years before getting married. During this time they were able to travel to both countries with visas.
“When I was eight months pregnant, the first travel ban hit,” said Sadegholvad.
The family had plans to begin life as a family of three in the United States. Sepahpour planned to quit his job running a well-known dairy farm in Iran to start over in the United States. But in the week of his interview to start the green card process, the Trump administration implemented the travel ban. Sepahpour was able to attend the birth of his son but could never come back.
“It has completely turned our plans and our world upside down,” said Sadegholvad. “You’re kind of like a second-class citizen. You can’t do what all other citizens do because of the country your parents grew up in.” It’s more than discrimination. It’s just so offensive. “
Ultimately, the Sepahpour green card application was suspended and the family tried to get clear answers, but they had to have one for their son.
“He actually knows like on election day. I told him if Biden is elected your daddy can come here. So he knows,” said Sadegholvad.
She believes Biden’s lifting of the travel ban prompted the embassy and State Department to contact her and pick up where things left off regarding her husband’s application process.
“I am happy. I am grateful that his green card will be ready soon. But my son has been separated from his father for three years and the emotional and psychological scars are not undone by politics,” said Sadegholvad.
She hopes her own scars will heal too, so she can trust the country she calls home again.
Tom Wong, an immigration policy expert, told NBC 7 that the State Department is reviewing applications from those who have been denied by travel bans. But during the pandemic, the limited capacity at embassies and consulates, and in some cases, people having to start over, means that it can take time before people see things move again.
Wong added there will be many more waiting times and barriers for families trying to resume their visa and green card applications.