ORONO – President Trump has signed an executive order creating new vetting measures for those entering the country. Now a couple is left in constant fear that it will stop them from being reunited. The wife is an American woman who is living away from her refugee husband.
“It simultaneously makes me feel totally full of love but really sad that we can not have that yet,” said Stephanie Crosby, the wife.
It’s not your typical happily ever after. While in love and happy, one of them lives in Malaysia.
“I worry about him a lot, but he has started new projects to keep himself busy and I am really proud of him for that,” she said.
Crosby and Zakaria Allaf met in Lebanon at a concert he was performing in. She was overseas teaching history and they soon fell in love and got married. But a job offer in India began the domino affect.
“My husband at the point did not have a valid visa in Lebanon and the Indian government wanted him to go back to Syria to apply for visa in Syria,” said Crosby.
Which was not an option for them.
“At this point the Syrian government – they are forcing as many men into the military as they can, and are not letting people out of their mandatory service,” she said.
They decided it was best for her to go back to the states, while he continued life as a refugee.
“At that point we were in a very poor financial situation,” said Crosby, “So my first priority was to make some money so that we both can survive.”
That was a year ago. Now, she lives in Maine. And they are waiting on the U.S. Embassy to schedule an interview so he can get a green card.
“All I can do is selfishly hope that maybe if enough outcry is raised, family based immigration is excluded,” she said.
All she has is a binder filled with pictures and documents. And hope that one day soon, they can be reunited. But the executive order leaves her worrying about what the future holds.
“We don’t know if it will simply pause the process or throw out all of what we have done so far, including thousands of dollars that I spent,” said Crosby.
Despite the time difference and distance, they make their marriage work.
“Right now I feel, a big wall has been thrown up in front of us and I don’t know how to get over it,” she said.
They have been receiving support from the community and have also reached out to government officials. But all they can do now is wait.