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.

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Storytelling Across the Globe

Virtual reality experiences, comic books, and architectural mapping are all forms of storytelling being used by artists and activists around the world to raise awareness of social problems. From calling out sexual assault in India to documenting war crimes in Gaza, these modes of communication are connecting people to issues across the world.

The Resilience of Children

The future of our communities lies in protecting our most vulnerable yet most resilient members: our children. But often, children are the first victims of war and poverty. Many face horrifying events and live with the trauma for the rest of their lives. Despite this, some children survive these events to become leaders of their communities and voices for peace.

Taboo Health Issues

Many communities around the world see disease and mental illness not as something to be treated, but as something to be feared. As a result, many suffering from curable conditions are stigmatized within their communities. But through education and organizing, some people are challenging these stigmas and addressing previously taboo health issues.

Green at What Price?

In the name of environmental restoration, the Ugandan government is expanding the country’s forest reserves in order to sell into the global carbon credit market. But this program comes at a high human cost as the state is displacing long established villages, forcing people to relocate, and jailing those opposing the program.

One Man, One City, Three Evictions

Rio de Janeiro has experienced several waves of development in the past century. For Altair Guimaraes the changes have affected him directly. Brought up in a favela, he has been evicted three times as a result of Rio’s developments. As Brazil tries to gain global recognition and increase tourism, locals like Altair are forced to relocate despite property titles. Now, their struggles are becoming a symbol of a global phenomenon.