Sryian family reunited in Milford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Sryian family reunited in Milford

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A man from Milford was reunited with his wife and two girls from Syria on Thursday night. (Swersey/HIAS) A man from Milford was reunited with his wife and two girls from Syria on Thursday night. (Swersey/HIAS)

A father in Milford was reunited with his wife and daughters on Thursday after they were prevented from boarding their flight following President Donald Trump's executive order and travel ban.  

Fadi Kassar's wife and two daughters, ages five and eight, who are from Syria were stopped from boarding their flight from Ukraine to John F. Kennedy International Airport last week.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy for Connecticut worked with officials to help reunite the family. On Thursday, the family arrived in New York and returned home to Connecticut. 

"I know the Milford community is ready to welcome them with open arms. But there’s no sugar-coating this. It's outrageous that Trump’s dangerous executive order forced them through unconscionable hoops to get here. Tonight’s good news for the Kassar family is only a dim light of hope—there are hundreds of other families out there crying themselves to sleep because they won’t be able to see their loved ones. I won’t stop fighting until Trump’s dangerous ban is repealed," Murphy said in a statement on Thursday. 

One day after their happy airport reunion, Kassar with his wife Razan and daughters Hanan and Lian were welcomed by their new community in Connecticut. Dozens gathered at the Olive Tree, which is the family's deli, in Milford on Friday evening. 

Kassar, who is from Syria, was living in Connecticut after being granted asylum. 

The president's executive order suspended immigration from seven Muslim majority countries including Syria. Fearful that an executive order halting refugees could be coming, the family even payed extra to get the girls and their mom on an earlier flight.

But, when they got to their connecting flight in the Ukraine, they were stopped at the airport and told they couldn't come to the U.S. They had to return to Jordan, where they had been living after fleeing Syria.

Kassar's brother-in-law, Sam Karout, who runs the Olive Tree middle eastern deli in Milford, reached out to members of Connecticut's congressional delegation along with immigration advocates, who took up their cause. On Tuesday, they got word that the girls and their mom had been cleared for travel.

"Last night after they arrived, they were happy, crying, they said the fear is out now.  They were fearing they wouldn't see their dad anymore.  They were so happy," Karout said. "My words could never explain, describe the feelings. The feelings of happiness, humanity, the greatness of this nation, the greatness of the American people."

Murphy attended Friday's event. 

"This is a very bittersweet day in Connecticut," Murphy said. "We have two beautiful girls and their mom who are going to get a chance at the American dream, but we have thousands more who are facing terror and torture because of this reckless policy." 

U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said Kassar had "an experience no family should ever have to bear" and she added that she "could not be more elated that this situation was resolved."

"I remain deeply concerned that President Trump's executive order continues to inflict unnecessary harm and suffering on families. Just today, one of my constituents in New Haven watched helplessly as his wife was sent back to Iran as she tried to return to the United States. That the U.S. would do this to a family is unconscionable and I continue to fight to end this outrageous executive order and reunite our families," DeLauro said in a statement on Thursday. 

DeLauro said that she spoke Fadir's brother-in-law. Her office also worked with the family's attorney, the National Visa Center, the United States Embassy in Amman, Jordan, the Customs and Border Patrol offices in Washington, DC and New York, and the U.S. Department State.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he was "so glad the Kassar family has been reunited, but countless innocent people are still in peril due to the Trump Administration heartless, harmful refugee ban." 

“I am excited to welcome the Kassar family home to Connecticut, but President Trump’s illegal, immoral Executive Order should be ripped up," Blumenthal  said in a statement on Thursday. 

The family said on Friday that they were thankful for everyone's help. 

To see more photos of their reunion, click here

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