On Saturday morning, Niki Mossafer Rahmati got off her flight from Tehran in Doha, Qatar to board a connecting flight to Boston, when she got caught up in the chaos set off by President Trump’s immigration order.
Rahmati, an MIT junior studying mechanical engineering, had been home with her family for winter break when she received word Wednesday morning of the pending executive order. She changed her flight to return to Boston right away, only to find that order had gone into effect in the middle of her connecting flight to Doha. She and some 30 other Iranians with legal visas were blocked from boarding the plane and sent back to Tehran. Among them, Rahmati says, were two women traveling to their pregnant daughters to help them through their last trimester.
“Do any of the people sound like illegal immigrants?” Rahmati asked in a public Facebook post after arriving back home in Tehran. “This will not secure the borders from terrorism and illegal immigrants. It will only increase racism in the American society. The president is trying to make Islamophobia a norm and policy by which he wants to lead the country.”
MIT Junior Niki Mossafer Rahmati is among those who have been denied entry into the US. Niki was part of the 2016 D-Lab: Design Motorcycle Ambulance team (pictured below, Niki on left) a project designed for The Olive Branch for Children in Tanzania.