Photo courtesy of Jennifer Shaskan

Fighting for the Unknown Family

A week after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president of the United States, he passed an executive order that revoked the visas of 60,000 people and barred all persons from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia from entering the U.S. for 90 days; it also suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Programs for 120 days, according to a White House press release. The order was unanimously rejected by a federal appeals court on Feb. 9. Since then, Trump has introduced an updated version of his travel ban that excluded Iraq from the list and exempted green card and visa holders but was once again struck down. With the decision of the travel ban still up in the air, many are still worried how they will be affected. Below is the story of one Mason student who has ridden the ups and downs of this political saga. -Natalia Kolenko, Campus News Editor

BY JENNIFER SHASKAN

 

When Deeba Izadpanah learned about President Donald Trump’s travel ban, she said, “I felt like I was being blamed for something I didn’t do.”

The recent actions taken by President Donald Trump have left many Americans, immigrants and visitors feeling scared, worried and unheard. These same actions cause Izadpanah to feel passionate and determined but vexed.

Izadpanah’s parents came to the United States from Iran. Now they do not know when they will be able to go back. Her mother regularly visits her family, who still lives in Iran, but she fears that neither country will allow her in. Plans were made months ago, but her cousins can no longer visit for her birthday. Politics has created a divide between Izadpanah’s family and the country that will always be home.

Instead of waiting for a change of action, Izadpanah chooses to stand up, fight and give a voice to those who need one.

“Iranian culture is very family-based,” Izadpanah said. “Even friends are considered family.”

Cultural closeness is what drew Izadpanah to drive to Dulles International Airport Jan. 30 after seeing a call for help from a local lawyer on Facebook. The lawyer’s post notified the public that individuals who did not speak fluent English were being detained and questioned.

“Those being detained made me think of my own family,” Izadpanah said. Izadpanah partnered with her friend Amanda Rodriguez and stood at the gates holding a sign that read, “Welcome to America” in English, Spanish and Farsi. This way, family members and lawyers were aware that there were people available to translate if need be.

“My passion for politics dates back to learning about the oppression of groups of people throughout history. I want to look back at this time in our history and think that I did my part—that I wasn’t silent.”

In addition to serving as a translator, Izadpanah also runs a political opinion blog, partakes in demonstrations, shares her views on social media, regularly contacts her representatives and urges Americans to go to the polls in November 2018.