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Two Christian Syrian Families Detained at Philadelphia, Sent Back To Middle East

Two Christian families seeking to escape persecution were detained at Philadelphia Airport and then sent back to the Middle East, according to a family member.

The New York Times had earlier reported that they had been detained, even though their visas were approved:

A Christian family of six from Syria said in an email to Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, that they were being detained at Philadelphia International Airport on Saturday morning despite having legal paperwork, green cards and visas that had been approved.

NBC Philadelphia now says they were put on a different flight and sent back the Middle East:

Two Syrian families who arrived at Philadelphia International Airport Saturday morning from Doha, Qatar, were briefly detained and then sent back on a return 18-hour flight to the Middle East, according to a family member from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The families, made of up two brothers, their wives and two children, were detained by Customs and Border Protection officials after disembarking a Qatar Airways flight at 7:25 a.m., according to Joseph Assali, of Allentown.

Three hours later, the six were put back on a Qatar Airways flight to Doha, Assali said.

“This is like a nightmare come true,” he said, adding that they had visas and green cards legally obtained months ago.

“They’re all Christian citizens and the executive order was supposed to protect Christians fleeing persecution,” he said.

The families were detained and deported by an executive order signed Friday evening by President Donald Trump that immediately put restrictions on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries and temporarily halted a refugee program for Syrian immigrants.

I’ve seen a lot of Trump supporters cheering that he would give Christians priority as refugees, so what happened here? If this is true, it’s a terrible consequence of a hasty and poorly thought out order by Trump. But I’m sure Trump supporters will claim he personally knew these people were the worst terrorists ever in history ever.

  • Cynthia Troendle

    I would say, since the EO specifically said there is exceptions for those of religious minority fleeing persecution that this is the fault of who ever was on the ground not doing their jobs correctly. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover it was done by someone who disagrees with Trump’s EO and chose to be spiteful.

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