Iraqi refugees enter Detroit as courts battle over executive order

Posted at 11:15 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 11:55:21-05

Sabah Estephan waited five years to welcome his sisters to their new home in southeast Michigan.

It was a moment that almost didn't happen.

They were supposed to arrive last week, but then came President Trump's executive order banning immigration from Iraq and six other countries.

"It's painful when we are waiting. They complete all the requirements and procedures and suddenly we hear that executive order. Very sad," Estephan said.

Sabah and his sisters are Iraqi Christians. The women are in their golden years and in failing health.

Yet, they were caught in a net meant to stop terrorist from entering the US, in accordance with the executive order.

The sisters were granted refugee status after their lives were threatened. Sabah worked for a company that cooperated with the US government.

"They're killing people in Iraq just like that. Very easy. That's why everyone can not stay and face those people," he said.

Lynne Golodner of Samaritas, an immigration support group, said the stay of the executive order has given immigration advocates and refugees a brief window of opportunity.

"Thankfully, because of all the different court decisions, they're now starting to be rescheduled so last week's
arrivals are starting to come this week," she said.

"We hope everyone who's waiting for this moment and we expect from Mr. Trump to stop or reconsider this
executive order," Sabah said.