WATCH | President Trump's executive order on immigrants has made the difference between life and death for the Ali family, a refugee family that found solace in Portland, Oregon, affiliate KATU reported.
The Ali family is the classic immigrant story. They came to America from Iraq for a chance at a better life. They are very close to obtaining their citizenship but as each day passes, obstacles keep hindering them.
Trump's executive order, which bans them from traveling to and from their home country, is something the family wasn't prepared for. The Alis have a dying family member who they aren't able to say their last goodbyes to.
My wife, her father is now dying and she cannot visit him to say goodbye. Imagine that.
While the Ali family isn't American by blood, it is the only identity they resonate with after coming to America more than two years ago. Ahmed Ali recalled that he had received death threats for working with the U.S. military in Iraq.
"The militias, ISIS -- they threatened me a lot. I moved inside my country nine times to look for a safer place," Ali said.
Ali said that when he was living in Iraq, he wasn't even able to start his car without first searching for a bomb.
Many families feel trapped in their native land and look to America as a safe and stable place to build a life.
It really hurts our national security. Also it's just out of sync with the fundamental DNA of our nation,
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) held a town hall meeting in Portland over the weekend to voice his concerns over Trump's executive orders. More than 3,600 people attended to support refugees and immigrants like the Alis.
"I left everything behind. I lost everything and now I feel like I'm living in a big prison," Ali said.
He said it took seven years before he was allowed to enter the U.S., on top of the five years he will need to wait to become a U.S. citizen.