Life changed on January 27 for thousands of Chicagoans who hail from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
These are the seven Muslim-majority countries from which President Donald Trump attempted to halt travel for 90 days, in a controversial executive order that also barred all refugees for 120 days and barred Syrians indefinitely. Trump said his order was necessary as the administration reviews and strengthens the vetting process to prevent future attacks on the U.S.
Now, after days of protests (including hundreds of people at O’Hare) and widespread criticism of the roll-out of the order, several lawsuits are winding their way through courts, challenging the order’s constitutionality. Trump on Friday suggested he may soon issue a "brand new order" to skirt the legal challenges.
Since 2002, about 12,000 immigrants from the seven affected countries have settled in Chicago. Though a federal judge placed an emergency hold on the order on February 3, the past two weeks have been fraught with uncertainty for some of these Chicagoans, especially those who are waiting to reunite with their families. Even those who are not personally affected fear the White House’s actions forebode further discrimination in a country that they once viewed as a pinnacle of freedom.
Chicago interviewed people from each nation to hear their stories.