David Meneshian waited for his fiancee outside the arrivals area of the international terminal at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday afternoon holding a bouquet of flowers.
The 33-year-old Eagle Rock resident spent the weekend panicking about what he’d do if his fiancee, a green card holder who traveled to Iran to visit her parents four days before the inauguration of President Trump, was barred from entering the country. Plan B, he said, was to fly her to stay with relatives in Canada, Europe or Armenia.
But her arrival Monday was seamless.
Less than an hour after his fiancee landed, Meneshian spotted her carting her luggage out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
“Nothing happened to me,” she said, laughing and smiling. She identified herself only as Ana. “I have school, I have a job. I have to go back to my life.”
Amid the confusion and apprehension following Trump’s recent executive order temporarily blocking travelers entering the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries, there were stories like that of Ana.
The executive order, which Trump said is needed to protect the country from terrorist attacks, blocks citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from coming to the U.S. for at least 90 days. It also imposes a ban for 120 days on refugees from any country entering the U.S. and bars refugees from Syria indefinitely.
Critics said the ban unfairly targets Muslims and imposes undue hardship on innocent families.
Meneshian’s mother, who was also at the airport, spent her weekend much less worried. In fact, she said she had zero concerns about her future daughter-in-law’s travel plans and supports Trump’s executive order.
“Our borders have to be secure,” said Zara Meneshian, who immigrated to the U.S. from Soviet Armenia in the late ’70s. “I waited 30 years to vote for Donald Trump.”
Her only qualm was the chaos and confusion that erupted when the order was put in place immediately.
As she was leaving the airport, she told a protester — holding a sign that read, “I stand with all immigrants” — to go home.
“You have your priorities wrong,” she told him.
But Tuesday, a family of six from Afghanistan — a country not included in Trump’s order — was detained for more than seven hours with no food, according to Kristy White, a volunteer immigration attorney.
She said the father, a mechanic, and his family were granted special immigrant visas for his work with the U.S. military in Afghanistan.
But when he landed, White said, customs officers accused him of having fake passports and threatened to deport him and his family. It’s unclear if Trump’s executive order was cited.
He said the officers told him he would never get into this country, White said.
The man was taken to one room, White said, while his wife and four young children, all under 10 years old, were placed in another.
Officers allegedly tried to compel the man, who is illiterate, to sign paperwork renouncing his visa, but he refused, White said.
“He said, ‘I’ve been trying to get this visa for three years — they’re not going to take it away,’ ” she said.
Officers told him they would “call Kabul” to find out if the passports were authentic, and if no one answered, he and his family would be deported, White said.
What transpired afterward is unclear, but around 8:30 p.m., the family was released.
“They all grabbed water from us as soon as they came out and started drinking it,” White said.
She added that during the detention, she tried to file paperwork with Customs and Border Protection officials indicating that she was the family’s attorney. “They wouldn’t take it,” she said. “No one’s getting access to counsel back there.”
On Wednesday, a relief organization was helping the family resettle.