Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is going to bat for a Clemson University graduate who was detained in Dubai as she tried to return to the United States and resume her life in South Carolina.
Nazanin Zinouri, 29, was yanked from her flight Saturday at Dubai International Airport after arriving from Tehran where visited family.
She now worries about whether she'll ever be able to return home, as well as what will happen to Dexter, her beloved mixed-breed puppy she left with a neighbor.
Zinouri's detention, the result of President Donald Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries for 90 days, got the attention of Graham, who has been critical of the commander-in-chief.
On Sunday, the South Carolina Republican tweeted:
Zinouri, who has a PhD in industrial engineering from Clemson and works as a data scientist at a technology company in Greenville, said on her Facebook page:
"After waiting in the line to get my documents checked and after 40 minutes of waiting, I was ready to board the plane to Washington, only to have officers ask me to live the boarding area — 'For security reasons your boarding is denied!!!'
Yes, after almost 7 years of living the United States, I got deported!!! No one warned me when I was leaving, no one cared what will happen to my dog or my job or my life there.
"No one told me what I should do with my car that is still parked at the airport parking. Or what to do with my house and all my belongings. They didn't say it with words but with their actions that my life doesn't matter. Everything I worked for all these years doesn't matter."
Trump's order suspends entry into the U.S. by most visa holders from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
Over the weekend, Graham issued a joint statement with fellow Republican Sen. John McCain declaring that Trump's executive order "was not properly vetted" and "risks harmful results."
"We should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children," they said.
Their complaint triggered Trump to fire back on Twitter:
In an interview, Sinouri spoke of the shame she felt of being single out.
"It feels terrible to feel like other people are looking down on you. I didn't go to the United States thinking that it's OK to treat people like this. I went to the land of democracy. I'm actually proud of being Iranian …
"Did I have a criminal record, do I have any problems or do you even care to look at my background? Or is it just that one word in my passport that says 'country of citizenship: Iran?'''
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