Nova Scotia

Fear of Trump travel ban keeps Iranian-Canadian from visiting Halifax

Shahin Sayadi, who frequently travels between Los Angeles and Halifax, is worried he won’t be able to get back into the United States if he visits Canada.

'I don’t know if I can get back and be with my family and I don’t know if I can take the chance'

Shahin Sayadi is an Iranian-Canadian who moved from Halifax to Los Angeles. (Facebook)

A dual Iranian-Canadian citizen who travels frequently between Los Angeles and Halifax says he worries he won't be able to return to the United States if he visits Canada in the next few weeks.

The concerns of Shahin Sayadi come as confusion lingers around the U.S. entry ban put into place last Friday by President Donald Trump. It states that people from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya are barred from entering the U.S. for three months.

Sayadi lived in Halifax until August when he, along with his wife and two children, moved to Los Angeles. The actor, writer and designer said he has an American green card, which allows him to work and live in the U.S.

"I don't feel sure that if I go to Canada right now as I was planning to be in Halifax in a couple of weeks. I don't know if I can get back and be with my family and I don't know if I can take the chance," said Sayadi.

Sayadi is still involved with the arts community in Halifax, and is artistic director for the Prismatic Arts Festival and the Onelight Theatre.

Sayadi's wife, immigration lawyer Maggie Stewart, believes her husband should hold off on travel to Canada until things settle down in the U.S. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)

The Canadian government has said permanent residents and dual Canadian citizens will be allowed in the U.S. That assurance provides little comfort to Sayadi's wife, Maggie Stewart, a Canadian immigration lawyer. 

"It's one thing to know what your rights are, but how they're being enforced or whether they're being enforced at all from airport to airport is difficult to predict and creates a lot of risk," she said. 

"In the immediate future … my recommendation is, my hope is Shahin would be able to stay home and we can wait and see how things play out." 

CBC News has tried to determine if anyone living in Nova Scotia has been turned away at the U.S. border due to the new travel ban. So far, we have not identified anyone.

If you're a Nova Scotian affected by the new U.S. travel regulations, we want to hear from you. Get in touch by emailing cbcns@cbc.ca or by calling 902-420-4100.

Life in the U.S. 

Sayadi said his day-to-day life in the United States hasn't changed much since the travel ban was put in place because he lives in a very open and accepting community. 

Still, he feels on edge since the ban was put in place.

"I would be lying to you to say that I feel safe and everything is fine, it's not," he said.

"This morning I told my very opinionated, outspoken 14-year-old daughter to be careful and not get to get in arguments — and to keep herself safe." 

With files from Phlis McGregor

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