UI student Farzad Salamifar stands under a bridge near the University Library parking lot on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Salamifar came to Iowa City from Iran to obtain his doctorate in French. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)
By Kit Fitzgerald, The Daily Iowan
Despite having his girlfriend, brother, and belongings in the United States, University of Iowa graduate student Farzad Salamifar was banned from entering the country.
Salamifar was born in Iran but came to Iowa City on a student visa in 2011 to obtain a doctorate in French. He lived here for five years before traveling to France in August 2016 to teach and research.
Two weeks after President Trump’s inauguration, Salamifar heard about the executive order that bars foreign nationals from Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Iraq for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely from entering the country.
“The new regulation affected [Iranian] community immediately,” Salamifar said. “I couldn’t plan for anything.”
After hearing about the ban, Salamifar reached out to UI International Student & Scholar Services, which put him in touch with Student Legal Services and the American Civil Liberties Union, he said.
“First of all, my girlfriend is here,” he said. “A lot of my belongings are in storage units, and in order to finalize my doctorate and research, I needed to be here. Also, my brother is here.”
Salamifar’s brother Sean Salamifar was also born in Iran but is now an American citizen living in Omaha, working as a research pharmacist.