Ahmed and Adel video chat with Abdel-Karem before driving to a doctor’s appointment in Brooklyn.
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Their mother, Amena Abdel-Karem, is stuck in Yemen with her two younger sons, the boys' brothers. She's been waiting three years for a visa to come to the United States to join her husband, Sadek Ahmed, and the children.Ahmed, a 31-year-old school maintenance worker in New York and a U.S. citizen, and other Americans with relatives from countries targeted by the ban see no end to their separations.The measure has devastated not only overseas relatives who have been unable to visit family in the United States but also American citizens such as Ahmed -- husbands who have been separated from wives and parents from children.The travel ban's effect has been stark: Almost 38,000 people seeking immigrant or tourist visas have been blocked from the U.S. since the ban took effect. Only 2,673 waivers were granted between December 2017 and January 2019, according to the State Department, which did not comment on how the waivers were granted.In the 2018 fiscal year, the U.S. issued 4,167 immigrant visas to people from those five countries, compared with 25,538 visas two years earlier.
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