At MSP airport, Iraqi man reunites with family after 5 years apart

Hasanain Mohammed holds his daughter, Maryam.
Hasanain Mohammed embraces his daughter, 7-year-old Maryam, shortly after being reunited with his family for the first time in more than five years at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Monday night.
Evan Frost | MPR News

A family's hopes to reunite after five years were crushed last week amid President Trump's immigration ban from Iraq.

Hasanain Mohammed had a visa and was set to arrive from Iraq last week. But like thousands of other people, he couldn't make it to the U.S. during the travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Then his wife Hind, a U.S. citizen, found out about a court order reversing the ban.

She quickly took advantage of what could be a brief window. They booked a flight and he flew out the same day. Hasanain flew out of Iraq to Turkey before landing in Chicago.

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He made it to the Twin Cities Monday night to meet his wife and two daughters.

Hasanain and Hind embrace.
Hasanain Mohammed embraces his wife, Hind, as their daughters Maryam, center, and Fatima, right, wait shortly after arriving at the airport.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Despite being held up at customs in Chicago for an hour during a security screening, Hasanain made it to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport early.

His wife, Hind, and two daughters weren't there when he arrived. Hind became flustered when she heard he was there and she wasn't. She drove around the airport a couple times before making it to the right pickup spot.

Hasanain calls his wife, Hind.
Hasanain Mohammed calls his wife, Hind, from baggage claim.
Evan Frost | MPR News

"I was shaking," she said. "I didn't know what to do, especially when I heard he arrived early. I got lost."

Hasanain was greeted by 7-year-old Maryam, who ran to her dad, hugged and kissed him. The smiling daughters brought flowers.

His beaming wife couldn't hold back tears. They had plans to stay up late, eat home-cooked food and catch up.

When asked how he feels about the immigration order, Hasanain said his wife and kids are here. He plans to build a life in Minnesota.

"No matter the circumstances, I will assimilate and get used to living here," he said. "The country is open, people are educated. I'll assimilate despite the differences."

Immigration attorneys said after the ban was lifted at least four people arrived in Minnesota this weekend. But it's possible more came during this open window.

It's not yet clear if the restraining order on the ban will continue. That will depend on a lawsuit that is making its way through the courts.