Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia immigrants say U.S. travel ban 'reeks of discrimination'

There's a growing sense of dread being felt by some Nova Scotia immigrants after U.S. President Donald Trump issued a sweeping immigration order that bans visitors from seven countries where the majority of the populace are Muslim.

'If I was there, I would be terrified,' says Rana Zaman

Rana Zaman is a Pakistani immigrant and social activist. She said people who were previously granted entry into the U.S. should still be allowed in. (Angela MacIvor/CBC)

There's a growing sense of unease being felt by some Nova Scotia immigrants after U.S. President Donald Trump issued a sweeping immigration order that bans visitors from seven countries where the majority of the populace are Muslim.

"It just to me reeks of discrimination," said Rana Zaman, a social activist and Pakistani immigrant. "That one person with the stroke of a pen has the right to affect so many people and not be held accountable. I cannot understand how that is possible in the year 2017 in a first-world country."

The 90-day travel ban covers all people who are from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. There's also a 120-day ban on refugees entering the U.S. from any country.

Zaman said refugees who had previously been approved to enter the U.S. already went through an extensive vetting process to enter the country, so to suddenly refuse their entry doesn't make sense.

"If I was there, I would be terrified. They were given this hope that all of a sudden they were leaving that behind and they were coming to a place of security and that they had escaped. They had made it," she said.

Nation of immigrants 

"It sounds like a horrible movie, honestly where you escape everything, but it ends up being like [a] psychological thriller. But no, it's only in your mind you've escaped. In reality, you are still trapped in that ugliness."

Tareq Hadhad feels the same way. He's a Syrian refugee who immigrated to Antigonish last year. His family now runs a chocolate shop.

Tareq Hadhad hopes the Canadian government will help those banned from entering the United States. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

"I really believed in the United States that this is really the nation of immigrants and it was built on immigrants. The people there are all descended from immigrants. This is horrible, this should not be in the 21st century to fail people who are seeking safety and peace," he said.

This topic hits close to home for Hadhad, who had considered applying to the U.S. as a refugee before he was accepted into Canada. He believes eventually the American people will resist the ban and force the U.S. government to reopen its borders to all immigrants.

In the meantime, Hadhad hopes the Canadian government will step up and help people who are banned from entering the U.S.

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