Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” These words hit home for my wife and me who are Iranian-American citizens living in Los Angeles, CA.
The ban has indefinitely barred our Iranian parents from visiting us at home. They have to spend the rest of their lives away from their children for whom they have sacrificed everything. Our first child was born in September of 2017 and our parents can’t wait to see their first grandchild. It’s heartbreaking to see them sending kisses over a video call, reading a book to their little grandchild, and only imagining what it’d be like to hold him. Our only chance to reunite with them is to visit them outside the US. As a full-time pharmacist and software engineer, that leaves us with a maximum of two weeks each year.
My parents had visited us three times in the past ten years by going through extreme vetting processes. However, their last visa application was denied in January of 2018 after 15 months of waiting. They are 66 and 55 years old. As a pediatrician, my father has spent his entire life caring for families and children in need, and my mother is a passionate math teacher. How could anyone find that these individuals are a national security threat?
The ban effectively treats us as second-class US citizens. It has posed undue hardship on our family by separating parents, children, and grandchildren, and taking away our simple hope to have family’s love and support in raising our newborn. It has forced a huge sacrifice upon our family only to score a political point.