I moved to the US alone over two years ago, and from the moment I boarded my flight I was welcomed by the warm and kind-hearted American passengers on my flight.
I left all my friends and family in Iran and in Europe to move to the land of dreams and new opportunities. I moved across continents to a country where I had never visited before due to difficult visa applications.
Once I got admitted to SFSU to pursue my Undergrad degree in Physiology, I knew this was the first of many doors that opened for me to pursue my dream career in medicine.
How little did I know that four months before my graduation a massive door would slam so hard in my face that it would break my heart. A graduation I no longer want to attend.
I feel my knees shaking when I think about this day that I have been looking forward to since the beginning of my undergraduate career — putting on my cap and gown and walking for something I worked so hard for, something I hoped to experience and remember with my family by my side.
I will not be counting down the days until I can proudly throw my cap into the air, celebrating my academic endeavor. I am counting down the seconds until I will be able to hold my head back up and say I, Armaghan Mirzaei, a proud Iranian, feel welcomed again in a country where my dreams currently cease to exist.
My brother called me recently and told me he has two weeks off of school and that I should visit him. How do I tell a nine-year-old that I don’t know when I’ll be able to see him next because I can’t leave the US as I will be denied re-entry and that he and my family will not be able to visit me either?
How do I tell a nine-year-old how our citizenship and nationality removes us from certain rights, how it is keeping us continents away from each other?
I also want to tell him that the world we live in is actually not that bad. That governments and certain politicians’ actions do not represent all the amazing people I know and have met.
I’ve received support from all my American friends. I’ve received support from my friends in Israel, from Europe, from Canada, from Australia, China, South Africa, and Syria. You name it.
All I know is that I’m also a human with emotions and feelings, dreams and hopes, and unfortunately, someone who continues to be a victim of this hurtful and disgusting world we live in.