Ottawa

Ottawa residents with ties to travel ban countries still worried

An Ottawa immigration lawyer who is originally from Iran says her family's planned trip to Walt Disney World in Florida this March break now feels too risky, following President Donald Trump's executive order that temporarily curbs travel for people coming from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Immigration minister says Canadian permanent residents, dual nationals can still cross border

Arghavan Gerami, an Ottawa immigration lawyer who was born in Iran, says taking her family to Walt Disney World in Florida feels too risky following Trump's travel ban. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC News)

An Ottawa immigration lawyer who is originally from Iran says her family's planned trip to Walt Disney World in Florida this March break now feels too risky, following President Donald Trump's executive order that temporarily curbs travel to the U.S. for people coming from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The three-month ban affects people from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya.

On Sunday, Canada's immigration minister said the ban won't affect Canadian dual nationals or permanent residents.

But Arghavan Gerami said that's not reassuring and she worries what type of scrutiny she, her husband and two young children might encounter at the border.

"Quite honestly it's not reassuring for us because we don't feel comfortable. We don't feel entirely safe in the sense of, you know, being on holiday in a country where we, quite frankly, don't feel welcome," said Gerami.

Gerami said it's "unsettling" to think something as simple as a trip to Disney World is now fraught with confusion and anxiety. 

"Are we disadvantaging them by the mere fact that we were born in that country?" said Gerami.

Gerami said it's not yet clear whether Delta Airlines and the hotel she had booked will refund her money, but even if they don't, the family will not be travelling to the U.S.

Ottawa resident questions move to U.S.

Trump's ban also freezes the country's refugee program for 120 days, which Nadine Yousif, 20, said "hits her personally."

The Ottawa resident was born in Baghdad, Iraq and fled with her family ten years ago.

Nadine Yousif, 20, says her family in the U.S. now feel like second class citizens because they're originally from Iraq. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC News)

She said refugees who are making their way to the U.S. — as some of her close family members did — should not be subject to such a broad policy.

"Those people deserve a chance at life, and they deserve a chance at a new life," said Yousif.

The ban is also causing Carleton University student Sima Shakeri, 22, to question whether it's still worth it to apply for grad schools in New York as she had hoped to do. 

Sima Shakeri holds Canadian and Iranian citizenship. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC News)

She has dual Canadian-Iranian citizenship, and said she often goes back to Iran to visit family.

"To have something like this pass, where it's almost like a government is saying that you and people like you aren't as deserving of equal opportunities and freedom and life as anybody else … it just kind of gets to you," said Shakeri.

A protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa is expected to go ahead at noon on Monday.

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