SEATTLE — Four Iraqi refugees arrive in Seattle after days of uncertainty due to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
On Friday, the refugees touched down at Sea-Tac International Airport and reunited with their family living in Tukwila.
The emotional reunion got people’s attention, a brother showering kisses on a sister he hasn’t seen in 13 years.
Wasfi Rabaa immigrated to the United States in 2010 from Iraq after helping U.S. forces in the war. His two sisters fled Iraq for Turkey, hoping one day to be reunited with their brother in Seattle. And that one day happened on Friday.
“I feel that it’s a dream, not true yet, I don’t believe it’s a reality yet,” Salwa Rabaa said.
But the tears and hugs proved it was real.
Salwa and sister Abstam and Abstam’s two daughters thought president Trump’s travel ban would end their dreams of coming to the U.S. The Tukwila family waiting for them feared the same.
“Not just me, a lot of people were very scared, their hearts were bleeding,” Wasfi Rabaa said.
The Northwest Immigrants Rights Project says many refugees and immigrants from the seven Muslim-majority countries with valid visas are moving fast to get to the U.S.
“The president has said he will continue to fight,” said Jorge Baron, of the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project.
Baron added that immigrants are concerned that the window might close if the courts lift the stay.
On the other hand, immigrants already in the United States from the seven temporarily banned countries are afraid to travel, according to the ACLU. The organization recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of two UW students who are from the affected countries.
“They are fearful they can’t leave the U.S. for conferences, for work-related things, for study or even visit their families,” the ACLU's Doug Honig said.
But for now the Rabaa family celebrates a new beginning in a country they call bigger than life.
The Rabaa family is a member of a religious minority in Iraq and they had to hide that to survive. They are looking forward to living in a country where they do not have to worry about religious persecution.