Two McGill University researchers affected by the temporary U.S. travel ban on citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries say the personal impact has hurt, but it's the impression it leaves on their children that really worries them.

In an interview with CBC Montreal's Daybreak, Yemen national Ashwaq Al-Hashedi, who is doing a post-doctorate in dentistry, said the ban forced her to scrap a trip to visit relatives in the United States in March with her 20-year-old son.

Ashwaq Al-Hashedi

Ashwaq Al-Hashedi (Ashwaq Al-Hashedi)

It would have been her son's first visit to the U.S., and she said he's taken the ban hard.

"He was very upset," Al-Hashedi said.

Issued last Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order put a 90-day freeze on visits to the U.S. by citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

 It also placed an indefinite hold on allowing Syrian refugees into the United States.

Hide their roots?

Al-Hashedi said she fears her son might grow to resent his Yemen nationality if the U.S. travel ban is extended.

"If he feels like being a Yemeni is blocking him from travelling, from getting a job — you feel isolated," she said.

Iranian national Majid Soleimani, a chemical and mechanical engineer at McGill on a Canadian work visa, said he has the same concerns for his one-month-old Iranian-Canadian son.

"I want him to be proud to be Iranian, I don't want him to feel bad," he said. "If this continues, he will."

"I've heard people trying to deny their Iranian nationality because of this new ban."


Rosalie Gurna, 9, holds a sign in support of Muslim family members as people protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban on Muslim majority countries at the International terminal at Los Angeles International Airport last Saturday. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon (Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters)

Professional impact already felt

Both Soleimani and Al-Hashedi said they're proud of their nationalities, but they worry what the ban could mean for their careers, especially if it's prolonged.

Both researchers had to shelve plans for attending conferences in the United States that are scheduled to take place during the 90-day period.

In Al-Hashedi`s case, the ban means cancelling a presentation at a major conference in San Francisco, where she was set to promote the work on dental implants she's doing at McGill and meet potential investors.

"It will delay development and commercializing of our product," she said.


U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order to impose tighter vetting of travelers entering the United States, at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Pressure needed

Soleimani took heart from the response by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the international community to Trump's executive order.

However, he said pressure needs to be maintained so the ban isn't extended or broadened.

"I'm completely sure that if we don't respond correctly, this is not going to stop here, and he's doing to target other Muslims as well," he said.

Al-Hashedi said Trump's assertion that the ban doesn't target Muslims, that it's "about terror and keeping our country safe," does little to soothe the people it affects.

"It doesn't make us feel better. He labeled us as a terrorist. If he banned us, it's because he's worried about terrorist attacks, and the ban on us means we're terrorists," she said.

Trump's executive order has had one positive impact, however. It's given both researchers a new appreciation for Canada.

"I'm really happy to be living in Canada and living in this society," Soleimani said.

Al-Hashedi shared that outlook. 

"When I heard Justin Trudeau, I was so proud to live in this country."