As Trump's ban on immigrants and green card holders takes effect, one gay man documents his plight as he returns from a gay cruise through Florida.
Gay Iranian green card holder, Maysam Sodagari (May Sam) returned to a different America than the one he left for vacation last week.
On Friday President Trump signed an executive order barring any people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the country including those with visas or green cards.
Suddenly Sam, a green card holder, found himself full of anxiety as he headed back to Florida from a cruise aboard a Royal Caribbean vessel on Saturday.
Due to Donald Trump’s executive orders to detain immigrants, even those with green cards and visas, Sam an Iranian asylumee was in dire straights as he arrived home.
In a Facebook entry, he posted a status reflecting what many non-US citizens are feeling this weekend:
“If I get detained and sent back to Iran, at least I lived the life to the fullest as a gay man in the US, and I want to thank you all for being part of this experience.”
But that was yesterday.
As Sam’s ship docked in port on Sunday, he constantly updated his status and his journey though the immigration process.
“Just got stopped on the ship exit, as others were allowed to leave....” read his first post after he arrived.
He then said he was escorted to the US Customs and Border Protections offices which he wasn’t sure if was part of a random check or a result of Trump’s executive orders.
Many stepped forward through Facebook to help Sam including friends who sent his information to the Florida ACLU.
After retrieving his luggage, Sam then was asked to “go to a room” and “wait.”
The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement early Sunday saying they plan to exclude green card holders and detainees who have been unexpectedly vetted by Trump’s orders.
Also, In light of Trump’s orders US District Court Susan Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Dein filed a restraining order that requires the immediate release of some green card holders being detained under the new order.
They ruled for the next week immigration officials “shall not by any means detain or remove individuals” with valid visa, or green cards or refugees who would not be permitted to enter the U.S. in the absence of Trump’s order reports Politico.
However, the Department of Homeland Security says despite the judge’s ruling they are still holding fast to the travel ban.
“President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place - prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety,” they said in a statement.
Also on Sunday, further confusing exactly who will be detained, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told “Meet the Press”:
"We didn't overrule the Department of Homeland Security, as far as green card holders moving forward, it doesn't affect them.” But when re-questioned if it affects green card holders, he added:
“Well, of course it does. If you're traveling back and forth, you're going to be subjected to further screening."
Support for Sam has been overwhelming through social media. Many are outraged that he must endure this type of treatment and ask that others call their Governors and Congressional Representatives.
"I'm so sorry you have to go through this buddy. You're such a lovely person. This is so un-American. This is not who we are. Stay strong. We stand with you! George Klumb -Facebook
"We are part of your Atlantis family and stand with you! I'm so disgusted by what is happening to you." Nick Singleton -Facebook
"I'm so sorry man!! Sending you positive vibes, prayers & love!! You have a lot of support, this isn't over. ::hugs::" Bryan Scott -Facebook
The last update from Sam at about 6 am EST on January 29, was a simple thank you to all who have offered their kind words and assistance.
“I feel the support of everyone here, from the officers, sheriff and other passengers. Thank you all. Still waiting in the room.”
You can keep up with Sam's plight, you can follow his Facebook page HERE.
[UPDATE: Sam recently posted an update saying he has been released and "I am free to go back home."]