Somali family reunites in Louisville after travel ban scare
From fear and frustration to tears of joy, it was an emotional reunion for a Somali family caught in the middle of President Donald Trump's travel ban.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- From fear and frustration to tears of joy, it was an emotional reunion for a Somali family caught in the middle of President Donald Trump's travel ban.
"I've been here 11 years," said Hodan Sheikhali, who came to the United States from Somalia.
For those 11 years, Sheikhali has been working, saving and planning to bring the rest of her family from Somalia to the states.
"My father passed away when I was young, 4-years old, so I can support my mom and my sisters and my brothers," Sheikhali said.
Several years ago, two of her brothers tried to follow in her footsteps.
"They just wanted to go somewhere like here to get a better life," she said.
But the pursuit of a better life ended tragically on a boat en route to Europe.
"The boat just wasn't good, too many, maybe 500, 1000 people ... one small boat and everybody died," Sheikhali said.
Down but not out, Sheikhali became a U.S. citizen and eventually brought her mother to the states. Three sisters and a niece stayed behind with plans to come later.
"She's working 4 in the morning to 6. Sometimes seven days straight," Sheikhali said of her mother.
The long hours and hard work paid off when the remaining family members made plans to come to the states recently.
"They get their Visa," Sheikhali said. "We were so happy, excited."
But the excitement was short-lived. President Trump's executive order temporarily suspended travel from seven countries, affecting the family reunion. A federal judge eventually blocked the ban and the girls continued the journey.
"They quickly booked the ticket and say, come on, this if your time," said Roodo Abdinasir Muhammad, a 16-year-old twin trying to join her family in the United States.
And then, after years of saving, planning and even a travel ban, the family reunited on Monday at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.
"It was like a dream come true," Muhammad said.
It was an emotional reunion that even made the front page of the Washington Post.
"They were all crying," Sheikhali said. "It was happy moment."
Now the plan is for everyone to become citizens and start living the American dream.
"This is the happiest day of our life," Muhammad said.
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