SAN FRANCISCO (KRON)—Following the president’s executive order, international students from seven Muslim majority countries were stranded abroad unable to return to the U.S.
That includes a young Iranian man we introduced you to last week who is in his last semester at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
In this KRON4 exclusive, KRON4’s Ella Sogomonian captured Payam Jafari’s return and standing ovation as he walked into class.
— Ella Sogomonian (@EllaSogomonian) February 7, 2017
The whole room brightened at the sight of his return.
All week long Payam Jafari was worried he wouldn’t make his flight back to finish his student film until a federal judge in Washington put a halt to the travel ban just in the nick of time.
Payam was away for winter break back home in Iran when he got word of President Donald Trump’s executive order that stopped travelers from his country along with six other Muslim majority nations from coming into the U.S.
“I had to think about my project what should I do with it?” Payam said. “Is there any chance for me to make it at all? What should I do with my stuff here in San Francisco?”
The ban ignited impassioned protests across the country including at the san francisco international airport that Payam credits for his return.
“Thanks to all the journalists, all the lawyers that waited for us here in all the airports,” he said.
We first met Payam one week ago over skype when he was unsure if he would be allowed back to finish his first student feature film at the academy of art in San Francisco.
On Monday, teachers and students at the school welcomed him with a standing ovation for the first day of his last semester.
“I didn’t expect them to welcome me in this way,” Payam said. “They were happy to see me and I am happy to be here right now. To revisit my friends, to talk with them and work with them.”
His return was made possible because of a temporary nationwide halt on the executive order by a federal judge in Washington last Friday.
Although Payam is back in school, he is concerned whether he can accomplish a goal to make films in both countries.
“I have been living here, I have been studying here, I’ve made friends and connections,” Payam said. “I want to make movie here in the United States and in Iran both sides. But in this situation I don’t know what’s going to happen in the near future.”
We’ve seen stories like this all weekend long.
On Sunday night, a South Bay family welcomed a 12-year-old girl from Yemen whose visa was stalled by the executive order. She finally arrived after nearly losing a seven-year immigration battle to reunite with her family.