In her interview with NBC News, Sarmad Assali had a question for the man who she helped put in the White House.
“Why?” she asked. “Where is your human side to send somebody to a war zone?”
Relatives of Sarmad Assali,— Orthodox Christians from Syria, had visas and proof of green cards but were denied entry into the United States at Philadelphia International Airport following President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order, which he, himself called a “ban” in Tweets.
Assali’s two brothers, their wives and their two children initiated their immigration paperwork in 2003 while living in Syria.
In December 2016, they were approved to join Assali and her husband in Allentown after the couple bought and furnished a home for them.
Assali and her husband, Dr. Ghassan Assali, who has a dentistry practice and received his degree from New York University, are originally from Syria but have been living in the United States for 20 years.
But early Saturday morning, after they landed at Philadelphia International Airport, Assali’s relatives were detained. They were then sent on an 18-hour flight back overseas.
The detainment and deportation occurred only hours after the president signed an executive order that immediately restricted travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, temporarily halted the refugee program and indefinitely blocked refugees from Syria.
“Two security guards were waiting for them,” Assali said. “They took them. They said, ‘Are you Syrians?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ They said, ‘Come with us.'”
Assali’s relatives, who are all Orthodox Christians, had visas and proof of green cards.
The six Syrians were told they had to go back on the next flight and return to the Middle East, according to Assali.
The six Syrians remain in Damascus. Joseph Hohenstein, an attorney for the Assali family, told NBC10 Monday they were denied a resolution that would bring them back to Allentown. Lawyers from the ACLU of Pennsylvania, HIAS Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the families.
The NBC Nightly News interview is below: