Yahya Abu Romman, a 22-year-old languages major, had just graduated from university. To celebrate, he planned a six-week trip to the U.S., where his brother, uncles and aunts and more than a dozen cousins have lived for years.
With good grades, an engaging personality and fluency in three languages — English, Arabic and Spanish — he had worked as a nature conservation ranger while studying, and had his pick of jobs with tour companies in Jordan, a strong U.S. ally.
In 2015, Abu Romman was issued a tourist visa at the U.S. embassy in Amman, good for five years. With money from a graduation present, he bought a round-trip ticket and landed at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport a few days after the start of President Trump’s travel ban on the citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.
That’s where the positive impression of the U.S. he’d inherited from his father came to a screeching halt.
“My dad is a graduate from the University of Illinois,” says Abu Romman. “He always told me America is the land of justice, land of opportunities, of generosity. That there are very kind people. And there are. But I think things have changed.”
In 1938 a radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’ caused public hysteria, as some believed we were really under attack by aliens from another world.
Almost 80 years later, we again succomb to irrational fears and hysteria over alien invaders, only this time the microphone is in the hands of our own president. The ‘invaders’ are
people who are simply seeking the same American Dream that many generations of immigrants have also sought and fought for.
Strangely, the public seems to largely ignore the actual efforts by a foreign government to create chaos and unrest and to usurp democracy in the free world. The real invasion of our American values and security is called a fake threat by the very leaders who are sworn to protect this nation.