Refugee ban is devastating news for SoCal Syrian family

by Bianca Graulau and America Arias

A Syrian family had hoped to bring the rest of their relatives to the U.S. as refugees, until President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely. The Dalantis got out of the now war-torn country more than two decades ago, and are living the american dream in Anaheim, but their relatives are facing increased danger.


“The women and the children are helpless,” Belal Dalanti, whose brothers-in-law and their wives and children live the Wadi Barada valley near Syria’s capital of Damascus, said. “They’re at the mercy of the regime. If they decide to let his people loose, or his soldiers loose on those people, women can be raped, children can be killed.”


As the Dalantis gathered for coffee on Sunday afternoon, the meeting took an emotional turn. The phone rang and the person on the other side delivered news that Dalanti’s two brothers-in-law had just been forced to board buses and abandon their wives and young kids when the Syrian army recaptured their village.


The men’s mother Aicha broke down in tears as her daughter explained the situation.


“She’s crying because they’re sending them somewhere unknown, and God only knows what’s going to happen to them,” Dalanti’s wife, Dalal Alia, said.


She says that for years, she’s been working on getting all her 6 siblings out of Syria so they can apply for Refugee visas. Now that the whereabouts of two of them are unclear, the possibility of her mother seeing all her kids together again is unlikely.


“Before they’re allowed to apply, they have to reach a refugee camp or a nearby country. But they’re deep in Syria and can’t get out,” Dalal Alia said.


She has tried in the past to pay off the Syrian Regime to allow family members to cross the border into Turkey.


Now the refugee ban poses another huge obstacle for her family and thousands of Syrians seeking safety in the United States.


“I feel like humanity doesn’t care anymore, and to be honest there are no more tears,” she said as she scrolled through cellphone photos of the transformation her Syrian village has undergone since the last time she visited. “After seven years, it’s too much. You don’t know how to cry anymore.”


That’s not the case for her 5-year old daughter, Yara Dalanti, who cries along with her grandmother, Alia said.


“They let us be safe, but not them. They didn’t let us help them,” Yara said about her uncles in Syria.


As conditions for people in Syria during the five-year bloody civil war deteriorate, Belal Dalanti says Mr. Trump’s executive orders has left his family more fearful and hopeless than ever.


“It’s up to the world to watch and make sure to prevent such slaughter,” he said.