Donald Trump

Iranian Family Reunited at LAX After 10-Hour Travel Ban Delay

Marzieh Moosavizaveh was unaware of President Trump's executive order signed during her flight to LAX

Marzieh Moosavizaveh lives in Iran and visits her family in the United States every year since 1993. It usually takes her a few minutes to get through customs -- time spent anticipating the meeting with her family.

But on Saturday, the process took 10 hours. 

"Every time Grandma comes to visit I go escort her from the international terminal to the Southwest terminal, but this time around, she didn't come out," Moosavizaveh's grandson Siavosh Naji-Talakar said. 

Moosavizaveh, 72, was unaware of President Donald Trump's executive order, which imposed a temporary ban on travel to the United States from seven majority Muslim countries, signed during her 19-hour flight to Los Angeles. The U.S. green card holder was detained along with several other Iranian citizens at LAX, where attorneys responded to the Tom Bradley International Terminal to assist travelers as protesters rallied outside.

"All they told them was just sit there and wait," her son, Babak Naji-Talakar, said. "For a lady with arthritis, a lot of bone problems, two open heart surgeries. Imagine sitting in the chair for 10 hours."

Moosavizaveh and her grandson already missed their flight home to Phoenix by the time the check Saturday at LAX was complete. Translating for his mother, Babak said this about the message she has for President Trump: "She respects him, and she can't understand why he's that angry towards us."

Trump's order, signed Friday, suspends all refugee entries for 120 days, indefinitely blocks all Syrian refugees, and bars entry for 90 days to all immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The ban also applies to people with passports from more than one country including those not covered also those that are, green cards and student visas.

The Department of Homeland Security released a statement Sunday morning stating less than 1 percent of travelers had been inconvenienced by the executive order. A Department of Homeland Security official said Sunday night that customs and border officers had "cleared out all cases that resulted in individuals who were affected by the order at airports around the country."

A federal judge in New York has issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from the seven majority Muslim nations subject to Trump's 90-day travel ban. The Department of Homeland Security said Sunday the court ruling would not affect the overall implementation of the White House order.

Several Democrats in Congress said they would be introducing legislation to stop the ban.

Trump has repeatedly said that the move is aimed at protecting the nation against extremists looking to attack Americans and American interests.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said officials were concerned about the possibility that rolling out the order in a more open fashion would "telegraph what you're going to do" to people who might have rushed to airports to beat the ban. In an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, Spicer also said officials' highest priority was "to protect our own people" and said everybody in the government who needed to be consulted was consulted.

"It's a shame that people were inconvenienced, but at the end of the day we're talking about a couple of hours," Spicer said Monday. "Being able to come to this country is a privilege, not a right."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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