United States

Travel Ban Leaves North Texas Family Divided

Miriam Azary has called the United States home for nearly 40 years. During that time, the Iranian native has run her own hair salons, first in Irving then in Plano.

Because it’s tough to travel away from her business, Azary has relied on visits from her siblings to keep the family connected over the last four decades.

But because they were born in Iran, her brother and sister are no longer able to fly in.

Tuesday the Supreme Court made a five to four decision to uphold President Trump’s travel ban affecting seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Restrictions are placed on Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

Azary’s been eagerly waiting for the vote, hoping the policy would be declared as “overreaching” as opponents have claimed.

The court majority, however, argued it wasn’t.

“I wasn’t that surprised it was a five-four decision. The five judges in the majority, all appointed by Republicans, are all well known for looking at the plain language of the law at issue. They define the case as turning on a particular statute that gives the President broad authority about the exclusion of aliens from the country. They agreed that this issue was within that statute and from that place then rejected several other challenges to the law,” said appellate attorney David Coale.

But Azary, who said she came to the United States in search of freedom, argues there has to be another way to keep out criminals and terrorists without dividing families. 

“I came to this country because of freedom. I came here because everyone chooses to live here and live free and do anything they want to do as long as they obey the law," said Azary. 

Now, with an aging mother, now also an American, she worries her siblings wouldn't have the chance to come for a funeral someday. 

"That’s very hard. That’s very hard," said Azary. 

Azary's lawyer Pallavi Ahluwalia has several clients in similar situations. 

Ahluwalia said many continue to fight to bring family members here although only around 400 waivers have been granted to people from the banned countries since December. 

Coale said it's possible the waiver portion of the policy could be challenged at some point if too few are granted. He believes that decision, however, would be handed down to a lower court.

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