An East Bay man and his family were subjected to a harrowing journey from their homeland of Yemen last month because of President Donald Trump's travel ban.
Ebrahim Almurisi along with his wife and five young children were on a plane headed to the United States as the ban went into effect Jan. 27 and were turned around the minute they hit American soil.
Now Almurisi, an oral surgeon, is making a new home in El Sobrante. He recounted the long and disturbing trek he and his family were subjected to trying to get there, which included spending eight days in an Ethiopian airport with five young children.
Through an interpreter, Almurisi explained that back home in Yemen, he had a master's degree and practiced oral surgery. But as that country's civil war intensified, he decided it was time to get his family out.
"I needed to protect me and my family," he said.
He sold everything he owned, spent months getting a green card, then got on a flight to the U.S. with his wife and five children.
When they got about four hours away from Washington, D.C., Trump's executive order was signed and went into effect. When their plane landed, the Almurisi family was ordered back on a plane and out of the country.
"I was begging them to leave us here because of the war in Yemen," he said.
The family ended up in Ethiopia, where they lived in the airport for more than a week, he said.
Last week, after a Seattle-area judge suspended the travel ban and nearly $9,000 was donated via an online crowdfunding to pay for another plane ticket, Almursi and his family got on a plane back to the Bay Area.
"Knowing that the government is bigger and stronger than a president makes me feel safe, even safer, in America," he said.