The president’s executive order on immigration has Iranian-Canadians Amir Eslami, OMS IV, and his sister Yalda Eslami, OMS II, afraid to leave the country. Over the weekend, they almost faced the frightening scenario of their father being barred from re-entering the country after a trip to Iran for a funeral.
Fortunately, the Eslamis’ father, a green-card holder, returned from Iran without incident. But in the days leading up to his Sunday flight, the Eslami family, glued to the news, was worried sick because it initially appeared that the ban would also apply to green-card holders, and details of the ban were changing constantly.
Now, Amir and Yalda Eslami are reluctant to leave the country, fearing they could be refused re-entry. This means they won’t participate in medical missions, attend international science conferences and visit family in Iran.
“I have a few weeks of vacation time coming up when I finish medical school,” says Amir Eslami, a green-card holder who came to the U.S. as a teenager in 2005. “After four years of medical school, I was looking forward to traveling, but now I’m planning to stay in the U.S.
“Even though they say green card holders are exempt, I’m not willing to take the risk. I wouldn’t want to put my family through what I went through the past few days.”
Over the weekend, as the Eslami family anxiously awaited their father’s return, Amir Eslami says he and his sister were encouraged by the outpouring of support they received from the osteopathic medical community. Amir Eslami has received phone calls and messages of support from faculty and staff at the West Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine as well as fellow students.
“I didn’t expect to receive so many personal messages of encouragement,” he says. “So many people have asked me if I’m doing OK. Everyone has been really supportive and helpful.”
Amir Eslami urges medical professionals to reflect on the AOA Code of Ethics, which prohibits DOs from refusing treatment on any discriminatory basis, including national origin, creed or race.
“As osteopathic physicians, we are committed to serving the underserved and we understand that all people have the same medical problems,” he said. “The borders that we’ve drawn divide us, and we shouldn’t let hatred and bigotry get in the way of health care.”