CHICAGO -- Syrian refugees and Muslim immigrants already here in Chicago say they're facing an uncertain future, and they're trying to get more information on how President Trump's executive order will affect their families and friends.
An emergency meeting was held at Sullivan High School to inform Muslim immigrants about their rights under the presidential order, which is causing chaos in families abroad, and here in Chicago.
One family of Syrian refugees is being welcomed into a Lincoln Park home just as thousands immigrants and refugees are affected by the travel ban. Speaking through an interpreter, Mohammad and Thanna – who asked us not to use their last names - said they came to Chicago to flee the war and humanitarian crisis in Syria.
“We came here for a better life," Thanna said through an interpreter.
But that image has changed in the last week. With the stroke of a pen, President Donald Trump issued a ban on immigration from seven majority-muslim countries. Today on Meet the Press, his chief of staff defended the ban as a necessary security measure.
“We don’t want people from these countries traveling back-and-forth between the United States and those countries," said White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
In Rogers Park, elected officials, civil rights leaders and legal experts met with immigrants to discuss their rights under the new presidential order.
“This does not make america any safer, there has never never been a Syrian refugee involved in terrorism in this United States," said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).
“He [Trump] has made the world look at us in a different light. He turned half the world against us," said Jesse Jackson, Rain
Part of Trump’s rationale for the ban is that the security vetting is not strong enough, but Mohammed and Thanna say they were only granted entry after a two-year security vetting process.
“Every month and a half or two months we would have an interview until we reached the point where we had an interview with the american ambassador," Mohammed said.
Chicagoan Genevieve Thiers and her husband sponsored them, and she says she will fight for American values.
“This is not just a badly enacted order, this is completely un-American and it needs to stop now," Thiers said.
But damage has already been done: a family which once felt welcome now feels worry.
“Even our little daughters tell us now, they’re worried. We’re worried about what’s going on right now," Mohammed said.
Elected officials say their offices will be open to deal with questions and concerns from the immigrant community as the effects of the ban continue to ripple across the globe and here at home.