Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Featured Exclusive 'This is my home:' Yemeni-American reunites with family, says...

‘This is my home:’ Yemeni-American reunites with family, says about 50 others detained  

First reports of how many still locked up at SFO

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Mustafa Abuzeid landed in San Francisco from Kaula Lumpur and was swiftly escorted to a room: “I was in a room with other people. They just told me to stay there and wait and they took my passport,” Abuzeid said. 

Abuzeid’s family anxiously awaited his arrival and organizers made announcements before his release: “We need to stay together and embrace the families and wait with them until their loved ones are released,” organizers said.

Abuzeid runs a small business and has had a green card for more than 20 years. His brothers and father are US citizens: “I’ve never had to face this, I travel often. Last time I came back home it took me five minutes to go through immigration.” 

Mustafa Abuzeid, a Yemeni- America, stands alongside his father as he reunites with his family after being detained for 6 hours. Abuzeid has been a green card holder for the past 20 years and was returning home from Kaula Lumpur. Photo by Sana Saleem.
Mustafa Abuzeid, a Yemeni- America, stands alongside his father as he reunites with his family after being detained for 6 hours. Abuzeid has been a green card holder for the past 20 years and was returning home from Kaula Lumpur. Photo by Sana Saleem.

Abuzeid said he saw approximately 50 people in detention alongside him. This is the first we’ve heard about approximate numbers; so far officials have not released any details of number of being detained at San Francisco International airport. The lack of information has left many in limbo but protests have continued to grow. 

Abrahim Abuzeid was worried as he waited for his brother to arrive: “I was very very worried. It was very hard for me and family.” Abrahim lives in Oakland and works for a building maintenance service providing office cleaning services in the Bay Area.

Abrahim Abuzeid says he was anxious for his brother's arrival but comforted when he saw the crowds of supporters against the #muslimban. Photo by Sana Saleem.
Abrahim Abuzeid says he was anxious for his brother’s arrival but comforted when he saw the crowds of supporters against the #muslimban. Photo by Sana Saleem.

“We live here. My father came here decades ago this is where we live,”  said Abrahim. He was overwhelmed to see people showing up in support: “It was great to see so many people coming out and supporting. When I saw them I was hopeful that I’ll see my brother,” he said expressing his frustration over the executive order: “I’m Muslim but I never think of people as different because of color and religion. We are one people, we are the same we are one,” he said.

Mustafa Abuzeid xhausted but teary with joy on being reunited with his family: "This is my home". Photo by Sana Saleem.
Mustafa Abuzeid xhausted but teary with joy on being reunited with his family: “This is my home”. Photo by Sana Saleem.

Abuzeid said he wasn’t mistreated but was exhausted and thirsty after two days of travel and six hours in detention. The family embraced each other as Abuzeid looked exhausted but teary eyed with joy: “This is my home,” he said. 

Lawyers are now approaching families of those detained to facilitate phone calls and advice people on approaching questions from immigration officers: “No need to sign anything unless you’ve a lawyer present.” 

Sana Saleem
Sana Saleem is a writer with a focus on social justice and human stories. She's member board of advisory for the Courage Foundation, Edward Snowden's legal defense fund.

6 COMMENTS

  1. It will not make any difference how long someone has lived here. If they are an alien from one of those nations, they will get questioned before being allowed to enter. US citizen that make several trips to one of those counties may also be detained for further questioning. That is usually a judgment call on the ground.

  2. True, he is a resident but not a citizen, and because of that was inconvenienced. I am guessing in time airport immigration officials will become more efficient and the screening will go faster. It should not take hours. I am assuming if they see a US citizen making several trips to one of these nations, they too may be detained for further questioning. I understand that if they come through some Arab nations, US Immigration will screen them before they board the plane. That sounds like a better system.

  3. And, it makes him nothing in Trumps’ book – and you are both factually wrong, and, these days, facts are important. He is a lawful permanent resident. He has the right to be here. He shouldn’t be messed with, and he should be allowed to live his life. He should be allowed to come and go – but, by definition, he is not an “American” – and, presumably, it was his choice not to be an American. As a green card holder, he had the right after 3 or 5 years (depending on how he acquired his green card), to apply for US citizenship. So, perhaps, for whatever personal reason, he didn’t want to be an “American”.

    I suspect that the travel ban will have the unanticipated effect that many people such as this gentlemen who are long time permanent residents but not citizens will now apply for citizenship – and hopefully vote against Trump and his ilk.

  4. According to this article, Mustafa Abuzeid has had a green card for 20 years, and presumably has lived here, in the U.S. of America, for at least that long. That makes him an American in my book.

  5. Confusing and inaccurate headline. The guy is not a Yemeni-American because he is not an American – he does not have American citizenship.

    He is a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), and what happened to him was terrible, should not have happened, and people are right to be demonstrating. But, in this time of “alternative facts”, we on the left cannot be careless with our facts.

Comments are closed.

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