Altair Guimarães

Trapped By Trump Crackdown: Syrian Lives in Limbo

Syrian refugee Mohamed Haj Ali speaks without emotion as he recalls the day last December when he found out that U.S. authorities had given approval for him to move there from Jordan with his wife and their four-year-old son.

He was told to attend cultural training so for five consecutive days the family woke at 5am and took a taxi 90 km (56 miles) to Amman to attend a course. It was supposed to be the last step of a screening process that lasted over two years.

"The group who was with us was made up of 20 families," Ali, 27, a former school teacher from Daraa, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview in the Irbid flat his family shares with his mother and brother, his wife and two children.

"All the families from that group traveled to the United States, except for me, my wife, and my son."

For Ali's planned move came too late - after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to halt visas to seven Muslim-majority nations and for refugee resettlement for the sake of "national security" to head off attacks by Islamist militants.

On Jan. 27, days after his inauguration, Trump indefinitely banned refugees from Syria and temporarily banned refugees from all other countries. Federal courts have ruled against the ban, placing it on hold as Trump appeals the rulings.

The ruling impacted thousands of families, including Ali's.

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