Confusion over travel ban upends family reunion for local refugee

Posted at 10:39 PM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 22:40:04-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Some refugees in West Michigan say they’re heartbroken that their loved ones may not be allowed in the country.

"My mother is 67 years old and a Syrian refugee,” says Zane Shami, whose mother currently resides in Syria. “She was supposed to come here and live with me on February 7th."

Shami says the reunion - just days away - may now never happen.

Protests continue across the country in response to the executive order on immigration issued last week by President Trump.

That order, signed last Friday, prevents refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days for what the president calls "extreme vetting."
"She's not allowed to come here anymore because she's a Syrian national," said Shami of his mother.

Employees at Bethany Christian Services say they’ve been flooded with concerns from refugees worried about their status in America.

"They are the most vetted group of any group entering the U.S.,” said Dona Abbot, the director of the refugee & immigrants program at Bethany Christian Services. “They are vetted by the United Nations, and five federal agencies vet them over a two-year process."

Until the effects of the president’s orders are more clearly known, some families will be forced to wait in limbo.

Bethany Christian Services says they will continue working with officials at all levels of the government to ensure they can still help welcome refugees to the country.