Tuesday 12 December 2017

Iraqi-Irish mother fears travelling to US to visit son after ban

Iraqi-Irish mother Amal Roche, left, with her sons David and Desmond, now fears visiting David in the US
Iraqi-Irish mother Amal Roche, left, with her sons David and Desmond, now fears visiting David in the US

Ryan Nugent in Dublin

An Iraqi-Irish mother has cancelled her plans to visit her son working in the US for fear Donald Trump's travel ban would affect them.

Amal Roche, a dual citizen of Ireland and Iraq who lives in Donnybrook, Dublin, has pledged not to travel to the United States for fear of "humiliation".

Ms Roche (59) grew up in Baghdad but has lived in Dublin with her Irish husband and family since 1985.

Her son, David, has been living in the US since 2011 with his wife, working for one of the country's largest multinationals - Apple.

David returned to Ireland over the Christmas holidays and the Roche family had plans to visit him at his home in San Diego, California.

But since Mr Trump introduced a ban on travellers from seven mainly Muslim countries, their plans have been completely changed.

Ms Roche told the Irish Independent that while she has dual citizenship, which means in theory she would be allowed through US immigration, she is still unsure if she is allowed to travel to the US because she has visited Baghdad in recent years.

However, the mother of two said that even if they are completely cleared to visit, the family will not be going to the US at all as a matter of principle.

"I won't go, I will not be humiliated," Ms Roche said.

"For me, even to be stopped and even my integrity being questioned... I'm not going to go.

"To be honest, if there was an opportunity for (my son and his wife) to come back home (to Ireland), they will come back.

"There is no point in living in a country with Mr Trump as the president.

"I will not consider going unless this is sorted and the ban is lifted because it is really humiliating."

Ms Roche said that she is not the problem, and that she has personally experienced terror attacks by Isil.

"Fair enough, with terrorism they have to take precautions but, what I'm saying is, punish Isil, not their victims," she said.

"Personally myself, in Iraq, my sister was killed, my brother-in-law was killed...and my sister was injured by one of the bombs, so we are victims.

"I support anything against Isil, and that's why I think the decision is wrong in the first place. It goes against all the principles in the West and that why we came here," she said.

Ms Roche and her family attended a protest outside the US Embassy in response to the widely condemned travel ban.

Irish Independent

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