Riyadh — Two Yemeni students visiting their parents in Riyadh are stuck in the Saudi capital after they were not allowed to board a plane to Atlanta on Saturday following US President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration ban.
Reham Noaman, 31, is a third-year doctoral student from Yemen studying education leadership at Clark Atlanta University (CAU). Her sister, 23, is a sophomore at Georgia State University.
CAU Officials confirmed on Sunday that Noaman was stopped at a Saudi Arabian airport.
“Following the Executive Order, she attempted to board a direct flight to Atlanta in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where authorities blocked her from leaving,” CAU spokesperson Mario Boone was quoted as saying by the US media.
Noaman is in the US on an “F1 non-immigrant” student visa which the school said allows her to legally study at CAU.
“Ironically, the student receives a US State Dept. scholarship to partially cover her education expenses due to the warfare happening in her home country,” Boone said.
Boone added that the student was “meticulously vetted” by the US Embassy in Riyadh. “Each academic semester, including the current semester which began last month, she is thoroughly vetted by US Homeland Security’s SEVIS unit in order to renew her visa status,” Boone said.
“This is preventing us from attending classes,” Noaman said in a phone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday. “This is a big distraction that could cause us to miss the whole semester and this is something that doesn’t make any sense.”
“Both my sister and me have F1 visas. We are not refugees,” she said.
“We pay our money and tuition to attend school in Atlanta. Once we graduate we will be going back to our country. We just came here for a better education and just want to finish our education and go back home.”