February 2, 2017
In her job as an immigration attorney, Farah Al-khersan has worked to reunite families and fight deportation hearings. On Friday night, she found herself in a similar position to some of her clients, when she and her husband were detained at the U.S. border hours after President Donald Trump signed a far-reaching immigration executive order.
Al-khersan, 26, is an American-Iraqi citizen. Her husband, Osama Fadel, 28, is a legal permanent resident of the U.S. and a dual Canadian-Iraqi citizen. On Friday night, the couple drove to Canada from their West Bloomfield, Michigan, to visit Fadel’s family, who live in Sarnia, minutes beyond the U.S.-Canada border. They planned to stay the night, but Al-khersan kept getting messages and alerts from other attorneys and organizations she’d worked with about the executive order.
“I knew the order had come out, but I didn’t think that my husband would be affected by it,” says Al-khersan. Both Al-khersan and Fadel were born in Iraq, but left with their families in the early 1990s. Fadel’s family bounced from Libya to Canada, while Al-khersan’s family first went to New Zealand before settling in the U.S.
They left for the U.S. at 11 p.m. on Friday in order to beat the inevitable crowds that would have amassed by the morning. Half an hour later, they were stopped at the Port Huron crossing at the U.S.-Canada border and held for the next four hours, just 70 miles from home.