Sleepless nights waiting for mom to return from Iraq | KUOW News and Information

Sleepless nights waiting for mom to return from Iraq

Jan 30, 2017

Nervous families gathered at Sea-Tac airport on Monday morning, three days after the president's executive order banning travelers from seven majority Muslim countries.

Green card holders at least are now being processed normally. They had been affected by the ban, but the administration walked that part back over the weekend.

At the airport this morning the anxiety of Mustafa Kadhem and his family mounted as the minutes, then hours ticked by.

Kadhem, 21, was waiting for his mother. He and his family moved to the U.S. from Iraq nearly three years ago as refugees.

Fakhri had been in Iraq for about six weeks. When she left, Barack Obama was in office. She had gone to see her sister, who is very ill. She worried she wouldn't be able to get back in, even with her green card.

"The last two days, it was terrible for us. We didn't sleep, we didn't eat, my little brother is always crying,” Kadhem said. “And if we could cry, we would cry but we can't because we have to be the strong in the family because we're older.”

More than two hours after her flight landed, Kadhem's mother, Wafaa Fakhri, made it through customs.

She sobbed when she saw her family, and held her younger son, age 11, close.

They're relieved but they're also still scared.

In Arabic, Fakhri said she wouldn’t travel anytime soon.

“I'm scared to get in the airport again, like any airport," she said.

Fakhri was one of several green card holders processed at Sea-Tac International Airport today without incident.

Immigration attorneys present at the airport say they have unofficial confirmation that green card holders will continue to be processed as normal.

But they say that could change at any time.