Detroit area Muslims react to new Trump travel ban
HAMTRAMCK, MIch. (WJBK) - Major portions of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban are set to go into effect.
As part of the new guidelines, travelers from six Muslim-majority countries will have to prove they have some sort of professional or family ties to the U.S. to enter the country within the next 90 days.
A number of refugees from those countries will also be banned for 120 days. The U.S. Supreme Court will take up the travel ban case when it returns to the bench in October.
Thousands of Yemeni-Americans currently call metro Detroit "home." And with Yemen on the list of banned countries, many are concerned. Some fear it could be a death sentence for their loved ones.
"The travel ban that is not good for all Yemeni now," said one Yemeni American.
But as of Thursday at 8 p.m., the United States will no longer approve a visa for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen.
"We form about 40 to 45 percent of the population here in Hamtramck," said Akil Alhalem, a Yemini American.
About 7,000 people are living in Hamtramck originally from Yemen. There is about 20,000 total in metro Detroit.
So what we know about Yemen?
FOX 2: "The president said that Yemen is a dangerous country and that is why it is on the no-travel list."
"There are some problems in Yemen but we cannot ban the whole population," Akil said.
But the Supreme Court modified the Trump travel ban to say that, unless someone has a bona fide relationship with someone or something in the United States, that person is banned.
FOX 2: "Are there terrorists in Yemen?"
"They kill us," said Abed Alnjjar, a Yemeni American. "They kill the humans. You go over there and see. There is no life. There is no water, no electric, no nothing."
"They've got no food, they've got no shelters, they got no health, there's a lot of diseases breaking out," said Alhalem. "They need our help, not to ban them and say you're not welcome here."
But despite the exception to the travel ban, those Yemeni Americans living here in Hamtramck say it's difficult to get to the United States anyway, and the ban will make it even harder.
"My wife is in Yemen. I want to bring her here but right now I don't think so, it's terrible," said one Yemeni American.
"When I applied for my wife, it took me six years," said Basheer Mohamad, a Yemeni American. "I spent almost $40,000 just to get her here. It's not easy."
And many Yemeni people in Hamtramck believe immigration is already doing a good job vetting those who want to come into the country.
"Immigration does the whole thing,” said Mohamad. "You don't have to worry about people from Yemen or anybody. Immigration does the job; exactly (like it) is doing."
"People come here to live to get freedom," said Alhalem. "To have a better life, a better education, a better health, that's it."