Clemson graduate caught in immigration ban returns to Upstate

Clemson graduate caught in immigration ban returns to Upstate
Source: WIS
Source: WIS

GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Clemson University graduate who was unable to return to her home in the United States after visiting family in the Middle East is back in the Upstate.

Nazanin Zinouri was greeted at the Greenville-Spartanburg airport by her dog, her boss, reporters, and dozens of friends Monday afternoon.

"I'm thrilled that it's over," Zinouri told the crowd awaiting her at the airport. "I was a little worried about what's going to happen."

She traveled to visit her family in Iran and was unable to return to the United States under President Trump's executive order that banned immigration from seven countries. Zinouri was removed from a plane in Dubai as she tried to return to the United States nearly two weeks ago.

Zinouri earned her Ph.D. from Clemson University and was employed by Upstate company Modjoul. Her boss, Eric Martinez, said Senator Lindsey Graham's office helped the company work out the issues surrounding her return.

"It's very difficult to see your vacation turns into a situation like this. That's the definition of horrible, not possibly being able to get back to your life," Zinouri said. "I'm thrilled that it is over and that it ended happily, but I'm still trying to process everything."

When she spoke of her experience in being turned away from re-entering the place she calls home, she was exhausted. She says she's thrilled to be back and that the process is over, but she still feels some uncertainty at this point about traveling back to see her family in Iran, in the future.

"It's very devastating and very frustrating," Zinouri said. "I, yeah, I've been a planner person my entire life. I like to know what I'm going to do next moment, to know what I'm going to do long term and short term, but [this] makes you feel helpless."

Zinouri says the lesson she's learned from all of this is to be appreciative of the moment we're in, and in what we have.

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