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Murray State Alum from Syria Says Family Visit 'Impossible' Due to Trump's Ban

Bassel Alhashemi

President Donald Trump’s recent executive order blocking travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and banning Syrian refugees has one Murray State alumnus reconsidering a visit to his family overseas.

Bassel Alhashemi is a recent MSU graduate from Syria and has lived in Murray for several years. He says the ban prohibits him from seeing his parents who sought refuge in Turkey after losing several family members to the war in his hometown of Aleppo.


“I keep in good touch with them, I was actually planning on possibly seeing them this summer, that's unfortunately not going to be the case anymore. I figured after I graduate I’d go see them but with this ban it’s gonna be impossible for me to leave or to come back or for them to come visit me,” said Alhashemi.


Alhashemi says he came to the United States because of the country’s diversity and advances in health, technology and education. He says he’s afraid the negative environment being created by President Donald Trump will deter ‘great minds’ from coming to the U.S.

Alhashemi recently received his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. He says the order was not well thought out.


“And that’s something that scares me about Trump and some of his decisions regarding foreign policy is such bans will deter great minds from coming to the U.S. And one of the things that make America great are no longer going to be there, if great people aren’t here,” said Alhashemi.

Alhashemi says he is also afraid Trump's leadership may influence others, leading them to behave negatively towards minorities. He says his family is encouraging him to remain hopeful.



"I love that they are not judging the whole country by what the administration does. But they’re also disappointed that it’s gotten this far," said Alhashemi.


There appears to be national confusion over whether or not green card and visa holders from  countries listed in the ban will have difficulty traveling - also here - and here - and here.


[Note: Hear a long-form interview with Bassel Alhashemi recorded in January 2016.]


This story has been updated.

Ebony Clark is a student at Murray State University majoring in computer science. She was born in Brownsville, Tennessee. Ebony has served as a reporter for 4-H congress in Nashville, TN where she spoke with several state leaders and congressmen. Ebony enjoys writing poetry and spoken word and competed in Tennessee's Poetry Out Loud competition hosted by the arts council in Nashville,TN.
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