“Muslim Ban Stories”

I was a winner of the United States Diversity Visa Lottery in 2019 from Iran. I was happy that I am going to build a better life for my children in the US. My younger sister is a US citizen living in Georgia and studies in Georgia University. She is the only one us who is now successful but living far from the family. Our parents are old and cannot travel that far. By getting my Diversity Visa I could rejoin my sister and provide a better future for my children where they could live in a society without discriminations, as Americans claim.

We accepted all the costs of travelling to another country to get our US immigrant visas.

On September 27, I went to the US embassy in Armenia without having any idea on Muslim Ban. We were told there are no visas for you because of presidential proclamation 9645 aka Muslim Ban.

That was just part of a sad story. The more difficult part is that when my son asks me about the discriminations there, I have no answer. There was supposed to be no discrimination in the United States.

The Paradox of Winning in Diversity Visa Lottery Under United States’ Regulations Then Facing a Muslim Ban That Bans You From the Right of Getting Your Immigrant Visa

I live in Iran. I have been registering for Diversity Visa Lottery Programs for almost two decades. I was not very lucky till I noticed I’ve won the DV Lottery Poll for fiscal year 2019. It is very rare to win. I felt happy because I could relocate to United States soon. Everything was going fine and I joined an Iranian group of Diversity Visa Winners in Telegram messenger. Oops, they were talking about Travel Ban aka Trump ban aka Muslim Ban. That’s not cool man. Thousands of Diversity Winners from Iran for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 have not been able to obtain their visas. It seemed odd, winning a DV Lottery under United States’ Regulations then facing a presidential proclamation that bans you from the right of getting your immigrant visa.

While experiencing episodes of hope and disappointment, the Travel Ban case was being under challenge in different courts and was finally being sent to the supreme court to get a final decision on it. Me and other DV2019 winners were very optimistic on supreme court decision but everything went wrong again. The Supreme Court reinstated the Travel Ban. However there was some hope in the verdict, something called a bona fide to be able to waive the affected applicants from Travel Ban. This was not routine so it took some time for the embassies to describe it as a close family of an applicant who is a US citizen or a job offer from a US company or similar evidences. However different embassies acted somehow different. US embassies in Turkey, Abu Dhabi and Armenia are the main consulates to interview Iranians for Immigrant Visas. US embassy in Turkey seemed more supportive for waiving the applicants while the other two didn’t. The question still remains why they did not act the same. The waivers number for DV2019 cases was still low. The difference between DV category and other immigrant visa categories is that the DV visa must be issued by the end of the September of the respective fiscal year e.g. DV2019 visas must be issued by the end of the Sep 2019.

Still I suffer from the moral impact of the discrimination. The country that claims to be against discrimination did already put discrimination in place. Now that the dark Travel Ban is revoked, still the sad story of DV2017 to DV2019 and DV2020 winners affected by the Travel Ban appears in nowhere. I guess the cases of these thousands of peoples also deserve to be brought to the public eyes, the congress and the new administration.

I was a Diversity Visa Lottery winner for the fiscal year 2019 from Iran and my case was affected by Travel Ban – Presidential Proclamation 9645 – and therefor couldn’t get my visa and this destroyed my dreams and plans for the future.

I would not say how I wished to win each year but it didn’t happen until 2019 and it was very important for me.

I would not talk about my emotions for winning and that because of my great happiness after winning I got sick and went to the hospital!

I would not talk about the expenses to get to the US embassy in another country because there is no US embassy in Iran.

I would not talk about the bad and dangerous road from my country to the country where the US embassy was located, Armenia.

I would like to say at that moment everything was fine.

Finally, I had got to the US embassy!

It was all joy but they gave me a letter just before the interview, which was written in Persian so that I would not make a mistake! The letter said, “You can’t get a visa under Trump Ban and you can go back before your interview!”

I could not look at my son! I had given him such good news about a good life in the US!

I should have been interviewed because I had came such a long road.

So I was interviewed.

The kind officer told me that everything was fine but I could not get your visa because of Trump’s ban but I would send your case to Washington for a waiver process.

I have been a university professor for many years and on the other hand, I work as head of the human resource in a company. I have taught humanity for many years and I have hired, trained, and developed a lot of people!

What law am I subject to?!

I was a lucky winner of Diversity Visa Lottery in 2019 from Iran. l have two children; My spouse and our daughter are in my case; but my son isn’t in my case because he is 28 years old.  My son has a master in civil engineering and he can’t find any job in his country and he can’t live the free life he likes. On the other hand my daughter loves to live in the United States because she thinks she could pursue her goals in that place i.e. a good job and also have freedom. She wants to be a good musician but unfortunately she didn’t have any chances in Iran. When I was a winner in Diversity Visa Lottery after many years, l confronted a lot of problem to immigrate to the US, Trump Ban aka Muslim Ban aka Presidential Proclamation 9645. When l won we were so happy and we thought we could have a better life in the US. So we tried to solve the problems because we had big dreams.

Although l knew Trump Ban was the big problem ahead but l sold my car because we wanted to immigrate to the US and needed to go to another country where there is a US embassy to be interviewed and it costed a lot – there is no US embassy in Iran-. We needed a lot of money to pay for medical exam and interview fees. At the US embassy in Armenia, an officer said your case is fine but under Trump Ban we refuse to issue an immigrant visa for you, but you could provide documents that could help you be waived from the Travel Ban like a job offer from inside the US which I didn’t have to provide or an immediate family member who is a US citizen that I didn’t have either.

When we came back to Iran, the Police in Iran saw US embassy tickets in our passports and asked many questions. After coming back I tried to find a job offer from US. I tried real hard but couldn’t be successful.

 Time was running and l had lots of stress. Suddenly l had a vision problem and unfortunately l lost about 50 percent of my left eye’s vision. Doctors checked up all of my body but couldn’t find any problems in my body and they said you’ve had a lot of moral stress.

Finally my case was closed by the end of September 2019. After that time my family and l were sad. I was depressed and my left eye was worst than before. I Know l lost about 90 present of my site but l hope to receive to my sweet dream.

My visa appointment was on (May 16 , 2018) for immigrant visa in U.S. Embassy (Abu Dhabi)under DV category for fiscal year 2018 and I was ineligible for visa under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 9645.

But the consular officer found me eligible for a waiver.

Well, I’m going to share with you my story. Of course the sad story of my life. I went to interview appointment with lots of difficulties because of some reasons that I elaborate in this letter. First of all, as you know there aren’t any embassies in my country because of some political issues and it has been closed for years. Therefore we had to go to another country for interview and I had to spend substantial amounts of money .Because of economic recession which exists in my country, it costs me a fortune.I had to spend for application fee, medical exam, travel to interview appointment, hotel and so forth. I spent those money that I put aside for rainy days! To tell you the truth I wanted to emigrate and commence a new life with my family. Secondly, in the ecstasy of that sweet dream I quit my job and sold the furniture,  our car , kid’s toys and many other stuff. I’m of the opinion that nothing is more terrible than the death of our dreams . And unfortunately in the wink of an eye I lost my golden chance just because of my nationality that was chosen unintentionally. just got refused because of that cruel muslim ban . It cannot be denied that nobody can opt his/her birth place but in my perspective everybody are entitled to choose where they want to live in. Religion  has not to do with humanity. Every person from any religion can kill other people as you see several times in your country. So I think it’s not a logical measure for assessment of individuals. I’ve always thought that the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA  is a land of democracy, freedom of speech, human rights and so forth. As I’ve never had an experience such that in my own country and I’ve always suffered those items that I mentioned and I was deprived of them, I decided to move to the USA to have a better life, to pursue my dreams and achieve my goals like many Iranians who are living there and have always tried to make America stronger.

My voice was heard by universe. So let the universe pave the way for me and thousands of people who want to have a better life and future for their children.

My mother was one of the lucky winners of 2019 DV program.

We as a family with my Father presented proper documents at Ankara embassy (03.Sep,2019) about our situation to live and work hard (investment, partnership). which will have so much benefits for US government for sure.

From investment view with mutual benefits, my father works  on his Pistachio garden and business for more than 20 years and would like to continue this, with power and knowledge about horticulture.  We would like to invest in this field, to express this experiences in United State.

Currently, I study Painting (BA) and trying to work as an Artist in your great nation. Further, I won Art competitions worldwide (UNICEF and so on).

Due to Trump travel ban, we were ineligible for visa under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 9645  which makes us lose our hopes, Once again we try to open our case with the help of our lawyer But nothing changed… . Finally, this our last hope and dream to try even harder to take back our right… .

Unfortunately, in the wink of an eye we lost our golden chance just because of our nationality that was chosen unintentionally. just got refused because of that cruel Muslim ban. It can not be denied that nobody can opt his/her birth place.  In my perspective, everybody is entitled to choose where they want to live. Actually and without a doubt, there is no connection between religion and humanity. So I think it’s not a logical measure for assessment of individuals.