Just a few weeks ago NHPR’s Peter Biello spoke with Dr. Omid Moghimi, whose wife was stuck in the final stages of applying for a green card when President Donald Trump issued his executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.
Now that the ban has been suspended, Dorsa Razi has been able to come to the United States. It's a happy conclusion to an uncertain situation, and Omid is back on the program to talk about the experience.
This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Omid, how does it feel now that Dorsa has finally made it to the United States?
I don’t know really what to say. It’s kind of surreal. We’re very happy, we’re very relieved. I really did not anticipate that this would happen so quickly and that we would be able to be here together. Especially so quickly.
Tell us a little bit about what it was like behind the scenes as the travel ban was batted around in court. Were you both watching every move that it made and everything the judges were saying?
Yeah, we were. I can’t remember exactly what day the court ruling was, but I remember I was at work. So as much as I was able to here and there and before and after work, we were following the news, we were talking to each other, trying to weigh all different options. I was on the phone with multiple lawyers. Obviously we have been talking to you and other members of the press as well to try to get the story out there and try to raise awareness. I was talking to some contacts at Senator Shaheen's and Senator Hassan’s offices. So it was just constantly trying to get advice, trying to see what’s going on, trying to think about what the best option is. It’s been a chaotic few weeks.
And at the time the initial travel ban was issued, you’re wife had an interview set up, or the final interview, but that was abruptly canceled. So was that interview rescheduled so she could quickly come back to the United States?
It was. So we were contacting the National Visa Center and the Embassy ourselves. Both Senator Shaheen's and Senator Hassan’s offices were helping us reach out to them as well. And eventually they let us know, after the court ruling happened, that they were rescheduling interviews, then a few days later that our interview had been rescheduled for February 16. It was originally on February 12, also a Thursday. So on the February 9 I was notified that on the February 16 she had another interview. So we got very excited and happy again. We got plane tickets and everything for her as well, and then we were following the news every single day because the very next day was the first day that the current administration announced that they were considering signing a new executive order. So then we were worried again. Is the interview going to get canceled again? What’s going to happen? So we were taking it day by day to see what was going on.
The specter of a new executive order still kind of looms. There have been promises that a new one will come. Is that something that gives you pause or makes you worried about what may come in the future?
It does. In our case, at least the way the way they’re talking about this executive order for now, it sounds like it may not affect us. Although we won’t know for sure until we see it. At least it won’t affect my wife and me directly. It seems that it will prevent her parents, for example, from being able to come and see her here. But the broader picture to me, frankly, is it seems we were just lucky that she had her interview when she did, and that we were able to grab a plane ticket quickly for her and get her here. If she had had her interview a week later, or people who have their interviews next week or at the end of this week, I would be terrified. And I’m sure they are because it’s the same exact uncertainty and the same situation that we were in a few weeks ago. So the story is far from over.