Donald Trump immigration plan impacts Bay Area families

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- President Donald Trump's executive order on refugees has produced a global reaction and roiled the travel plans of some Bay Area residents, including a local professor who says the action has turned his life upside down.

Hamid Kargaran, a Walnut Creek resident who also works as a marketing entrepreneur, spent several hours at San Francisco International Airport Monday. He was joined by several others waiting for their loved ones to arrive from places like Iraq and Iran -- where they've been stuck for days -- because they were barred from entering the U.S.

The president's controversial order bans the entry of migrants from seven Muslim-majority countries into the U.S., and temporarily suspends the admission of refugees.

As protests mounted around the country this weekend, demonstrators packed Bay Area airports to express their opposition to the Trump order.

Families and activists sang "This Land Is Your Land," as passengers arrived through customs.

Some yelled "You are welcome here in America" while others chanted "Not my President!"

Passenger reaction to the protests was varied: Some observers teared up and took video on their cell phones while others looked shocked.

Kargaran paced the airport floor for three hours as he texted his wife Ellie Iranfard, who was unable to fly out of Iran on Friday. She had been visiting her family.

On Monday, Kargaran received word that his wife would finally be arriving home on a flight from Germany.

"It's been a horrible nightmare for me these past few days," Kargaran said. My wife "went to the airport Friday night and then she wasn't allowed to board her plane because she was a Green Card holder, which was very shocking."

Kargaran, who is a U.S. citizen, said he hasn't slept in three days, is anxious and wonders if Ellie would ever make it home again.

"I'm more upset and heartbroken than angry," he said. "I've been a good citizen (and) I try to do everything right. I pay taxes. I'm an entrepreneur (who has) started companies (and) hired people.

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I teach classes at SF State and Golden Gate University to try to give back to the community (and) now, I feel like a second class citizen," he said.

A legal services booth has been set up at the San Francisco airport in the international arrivals area to help those in Kargaran's situation.

And immigration attorneys are donating their time for at least a week.

"It's like a one-stop shop for immigration help for folks who are arriving here at SFO," said Julia Wilson with OneJustice, an immigrant rights organization.

Reem Alrubaye and her family waited for three hours for her mother, Maysson Aljadooa, to clear customs.

Aljadooa's husband, Ali Alrubaye, panicked when he heard about Trump's executive order and promptly bought a plane ticket for his wife.

Maysson flew from Iraq to Dubai where she was detained for 20 hours. Her husband said she has a Green Card and has been living legally in the U.S. for years.

Screams of joy could be heard throughout arrivals when Maysson walked through the gate. She was greeted by all of her children, who excitedly welcomed her back home with a group hug.

"I'm just so happy," Maysson said, wiping the tears from her face.

Just minutes later, Kargaran saw his wife walking down the corridor.

He ran to greet her, wrapping his arms tightly around her shoulders.

Ellie said it was lonely in the inspection room with customs agents. She said she felt insulted under their barrage of questions.

She said she grew nervous when they swiped her Green Card and told her it had expired although it technically doesn't expire until April.

"You feel like you're not welcome where you live," she said. "We didn't do anything wrong. I don't even have a driving ticket."

While the ordeal has been stressful for the couple, they said the will enjoy each other's company over a nice dinner.

By KTVU reporter Tara Moriarty.

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