Sudan family still plans US move despite fears

2017-02-10 21:35


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Khartoum- Hours after an American court struck down a controversial travel ban, Mohamed al-Khatim's family began finalising plans to leave Sudan, despite concerns over their new life in the US.

Going to the United States has been a seven-year dream, but he worries that US President Donald Trump's speeches have created a hostile atmosphere.

"This American president's speeches are feeding hatred in American society and on the streets of the US," Khatim said.

"If I'm going for a better life than in my country, this kind of talk makes me hesitate."

Trump's executive order banning refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Sudan, had put the family's plans on hold.

But last week a Seattle court struck down the ban, and on Thursday a federal appeals court refused to reinstate it.

"After the travel ban all our hopes were shattered," said Khatim's wife Samah al-Amin, lifting her eight-month-old boy onto her lap as she sat in her parents' home in a suburb in the city of Omdurman.

The two had been cleared for US visas as part of the US Diversity Immigrant Visa programme, she said.

They moved out of their Khartoum flat a month ago and were busy completing preparations to travel when the ban came into force.

"We have moved into my parents' home where we are currently staying, but all our belongings are scattered," said Amin, 33, dressed in a black head scarf and a long skirt.

Now they plan to go to Denver, where they aim to take English lessons for a few months and then search for jobs.

"I think America is a state governed by laws, its constitution and its institutions," said Amin.

"For this reason I will put aside my fears and go."

Amin said she is optimistic that things will work out once they reach the United States.

"Over the past 27-28 years, Sudan has not given any indication that it's progressing in any field," she said.

"To ensure a good future for my son... I think the US is better in every field, be it education or health."

Khatim said he wanted to build a better life for his family, and hoped his experience in the US would be different from life in Sudan.

But Trump's tough stance on immigration was creating worries among people hoping to build a new life there, he said as his wife prepared traditional Sudanese dishes for breakfast ahead of Friday prayers.

"I have fears about living there for ever," he said.

"I'm from a country suffering from political and ethnic divisions. If my son is asked at school what his religion is, it would be better to stay here."

Read more on:    sudan  |  east africa

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