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Sarmad Assali and her husband, Dr. Ghassan Assali, have been in the United States for 20 years, according to NBC-10 in Philadelphia. Dr. Assali graduated from New York University and built a successful dental practice in Allentown, Pa. Their son attends Temple University in Philadelphia. And they voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
After settling down, Dr. Assali invited two of his brothers, their wives and their two children to join them in Allentown. The family lives in an established Syrian and Lebanese community in Allentown, according to Joseph Hohenstein, a lawyer for the family.
The Allentown community, as well as the extended Assali family, is Christian.
But it wasn’t to be a short or easy journey for the Assali family. Though the six Syrians started their immigration procedures in 2003, it took 13 years to clear them, receiving notice in December 2016 that they were cleared to join their family in Allentown.
They landed in Philadelphia early Saturday morning. And they were forced to board an 18 hour flight back to Damascus, the capital of Syria.
They’re not giving up yet, though. The Assali family is joining the ACLU of Pennsylvania, HIAS Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association in their federal suit in the hopes of bringing their family back to the United States safely, says NBC-10.
The family isn’t pleased that Trump is following through on his promise to initiate a “complete and total shutdown” on immigration from Syria and other majority-Muslim countries.
In an interview with NBC-10, Sarmad Assali asked Donald Trump “Why? […] Where is your human side to send somebody to a war zone?”