CLEVELAND — An internal medicine resident at the Cleveland Clinic was among those refused entry to the United States under an executive order by President Donald Trump that prompted protests and criticism from Ohio elected officials Sunday.
The 26-year-old doctor from Cleveland Heights, Suha Abushamma, has been employed at the hospital since July on a work visa. She was detained in New York Saturday, while trying to return from a trip to Saudi Arabia, and put back on a plane to the Middle East, she said in an interview with Cleveland.com.
Abushamma is Muslim and a citizen of Sudan, one of the seven Muslim-majority countries affected by Trump’s temporary ban on entering the United States. A federal judge issued an emergency stay Saturday night on enforcement of Trump’s edict as confusion and protests broke out at airports across the country.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the order was “an extreme vetting proposal that didn’t get the vetting it should have had” and that Abushamma should have been allowed to return.
“In my view, we ought to all take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense for our national security,” he said.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, called the decision to block her entry “cruel, foolish and out of step with American values.” The Columbus Dispatch reported Brown said “turning away doctors here to learn and help people does not make America safer.”
Mohamad Zandian, a 26-year-old Ohio State doctoral student in chemistry, told CNN his wife, 24-year-old Parisa Fasihianifard, also was stopped at John F. Kennedy Airport and he worked to prevent her from being jailed overnight. He told the news outlet, “I don’t feel safe anymore to stay here in the U.S.”
Hundreds of people marched at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Sunday, bundled against the cold weather and carrying signs such as, “We Are ALL immigrants”, “Shame on POTUS” and “Keep America Great: Resist!” The crowd chanted, “No hate. No fear. Refugees are welcome here.”
Protesters also descended on John Glenn International Airport in Columbus and a smaller group reportedly picketed at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport, Mason and Hebron.
On Twitter, Ohio Gov. John Kasich called for replacing Trump’s executive order “with a more thoughtful approach consistent with our values.”
State treasurer and Senate candidate Josh Mandel, who is Jewish, tweeted, “Nonsense to compare Holocaust victims to todays refugees. Nazis weren’t embedded with Jews fleeing Europe. Islamic terrorists embedded today.”
Abushamma told Cleveland.com she had planned to be in the Middle East for three weeks but cut the trip short after hearing Trump was proposing the order. She said after being put back on a outbound plane that she would finish out her planned visit to family while awaiting further information.