The Trump administration’s travel ban from earlier this year just won’t go away. Now it’s affecting grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members that don’t make the cut as “bona fide” relations at least, as the State Department sees it.
After winding its way through the Supreme Court, the watered-down temporary ban went into effect Thursday evening. It bans people coming from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from getting visas, unless they have a business or academic connection to the U.S. or qualify as certain family relationships.
So, while parents and stepparents (and even mothers-in-law) can come to America if they have relations here, it’s tough noogies to Grandma and Grandpa.
Grandkids who know their grandma wouldn’t hurt anyone let alone be a threat to America quickly rallied against the ban’s stipulations. The hashtag #GrandparentsNotTerrorists was started to show how loving and important grandparents are to families, especially to grandchildren who live a world away.
For 19-year-old Sarah Khatami, a rising junior at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, the ban hits close to home. Her grandmother immigrated from Iran to her family’s home in Pittsburgh about 11 years ago and became a citizen after five years living in the U.S. This ban easily could have affected her.
“We’re very lucky and happy she’s living with us in America,” Khatami said in a phone call Friday, after she posted a baby picture with her grandma. In her tweet she asked Trump, “My grandmother is the purest soul I know. Does she look like a terrorist to you?”
For her family who immigrated to the U.S. 30 years ago, she said “it feels like you are not wanted in this country that you tried so hard to be part of.”
Other photos went up showing the same “threatening” grandparents who now won’t be able to get visas to visit family living in America. Others posted pictures of their relatives who already live in the U.S., like Khatami’s grandmother, but who easily could have been affected under the temporary ban.
These sweet photos are reminiscent of other online campaigns highlighting the ridiculousness of anti-Muslim and immigrant rhetoric, like the #ScaryImmigrant photos of families doing super normal things like going to graduation, mowing the lawn, or drinking a beer.
After the San Bernardino shooting in 2015, media photos of the suspects’ apartment were released, which prompted #MuslimApartments to show that most living rooms and homes are beyond ordinary.
Once again, the exception is not the rule. Just look at these grandmas and grandpas. There’s even an Instagram devoted to all the banned grandmas (and grandpas) that went up Friday.
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