Young Eman Ali knows a thing a or two about “extreme vetting”. The 12-year-old daughter of a Los Banos couple has been trying to get her immigrant visa for nearly six years — since she was just six years old — and finally got that visa this past January. But the controversial Muslim travel ban left her stranded 9,000 miles away, a girl without a country in international legal limbo for more than a week.
Until Sunday night. On the evening of February 5, Eman Ali and her father were welcomed at San Francisco International Airport, capping off a six-year struggle to reunite Eman with her northern California parents.
Eman finally got her immigrant visa in late January, while still residing with her grandparents in Yemen. But in a spectacular example of unfortunate timing, President Trump’s executive order took effect just shortly before she and her father were boarding their flight to the U.S. Eman was denied entry to the plane, forcing her and her father (a U.S. citizen) to spend the week holed up in a hotel in the African Republic of Djibouti.
When a Seattle judge temporarily halted the travel ban on February 3, that created the opportunity for Eman to come into the country. Since she’s under 18 and both of her parents are U.S. citizens, Eman now automatically becomes both a permanent U.S. resident and a citizen.
A GoFundMe campaign has been established to support Eman and her family, to help pay legal bills and cover the costs of several weeks of work that her father missed.