Syrian mom in Trump lawsuit: ‘It’s unfair’ son stuck abroad

SEATTLE — When war broke out in Syria and the kidnappings began, Reema Duhman used a three-hour curfew to slip out of the country in 2012 and made her way to Seattle.

Duhman became a permanent U.S. resident and had almost completed the complicated process of securing a visa for her 16-year-old son, still trapped in the war-torn country, when President Donald Trump last week issued an executive order prohibiting anyone from Syria and six other countries from traveling to the U.S.

“It just broke my heart, you know, when you’re waiting for your son and you prepare his room, you know how many clothes I buy for him. Everything destroyed because of Trump,” Duhman told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday. “I feel it’s unfair that he can see his son growing up but we cannot just because we’re Muslims.”

Duhman is a plaintiff in a federal class-action lawsuit filed in Seattle this week by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project that claims Trump’s order is unconstitutional and violates the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“We’re facing families being torn apart in blatant disregard of the Constitution, in blatant disregard of the immigration laws that say you should not, cannot discriminate based on national origin when you’re issuing visas,” said Matt Adams, a lawyer with the group. “And all of this in the name of security? No. That’s a joke. This is all about him carrying forward on his promise to ban Muslims.”

The case is one of many being filed across the country seeking to lift the travel ban on constitutional grounds. A federal judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order in one of these cases, prohibiting officials from enforcing the order.

A federal judge in Seattle will hear arguments on Friday for a nationwide restraining order in a case filed by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson that claims the order is unconstitutional. Minnesota joined the case late Wednesday.

Trump’s order is causing irreparable harm to the states’ residents, businesses, and education system and will reduce the state’s tax revenue, Ferguson said in court documents filed late Wednesday detailing why the state has legal standing to file the lawsuit.

The White House has argued that Trump’s immigration ban will make the country safer.

But Duhman said the only reason she came to the U.S. was to escape the violence the Syrian war and that she worries constantly about her son’s safety.

“All Syria is in a state of war even in places that are relatively safe, you never know,” she said. “Sometimes there are bombings. Sometimes there are kidnappings.”

Duhman said her boy is like any other and likes music, guitar and computers.

“He’s so smart. He’s nice,” she said.

But the war has forced him into hiding, she said. She declined to disclose where in Syria he is living in Syria to protect his safety.

“For three years he has not been able to go to school because he was too scared,” she said.

Trump’s travel ban is keeping her family apart and threatening her son’s life, she said.

“No justice system in heaven or earth can accept something like that we’re singled out just because we’re Muslim,” she said. “I’m proud of being Muslim and we’re not terrorists.”

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 15

Here’s what to expect this week.

Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people gather in Juneau for the opening of Celebration on June 5. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Federal judge considers lawsuit that could decide Alaska tribes’ ability to put land into trust

Arguments took place in early May, and Judge Sharon Gleason has taken the case under advisement.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, June 18, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Monday, June 17, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Workers stand next to the Father Brown’s Cross after they reinstalled it at an overlook site on Mount Roberts on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Hugo Miramontes)
Father Brown’s Cross is resurrected on Mount Roberts after winter collapse

Five workers put landmark back into place; possibility of new cross next year being discussed.

KINY’s “prize patrol” vehicle is parked outside the Local First Media Group Inc.’s building on Wednesday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau radio station KINY is using AI to generate news stories — how well does it get the scoop?

As trust and economics of news industry continue long decline, use and concerns of AI are growing.

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska faces consequences as federal education funding equity dispute continues

State officials offered feds a $300,000 compromise instead of $17 million adjustment.

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, speaks on the Senate floor on March 6. Gray-Jackson was the sponsor of a bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
On Juneteenth, Gov. Dunleavy weighs adding a new legal holiday for Alaska

If the governor signs recently passed bill, Juneteenth would be observed as a state holiday in 2025.

Most Read