SC senators and Clemson students are uniting to bring travel ban victim Nazanin Zinouri home

‘I am so overwhelmed and touched by the support’

Nazanin Zinouri, a data scientist in Clemson S.C. and a legal resident of the United States, has not been allowed to return to the country yet after being denied entry following an executive order. However, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Tim Scott are both working to assist her. The wide outcry and advocation for her return shows that despite the executive order, representatives of South Carolina are willing to go above and beyond to help their citizens.

Both senators have taken to Twitter to assure their constituents that they are in contact with Zinouri and working to help her return.

Senator Graham made it especially clear that this is an important matter to him by visiting Zinouri’s place of work, Modjoul, in Clemson S.C. on Monday to speak with her co-workers and express his desire to bring her home.

According to The Greenville Journal, Senator Graham spoke to employees at Modjoul saying, “From what I’ve been told by her friends, she was taken off a plane in Dubai, and the TSA agents in Dubai said it was a result of the order issued by President Trump. If that’s the case, we’ve made a mistake. My goal is to protect America from terrorists coming into our country, not keep this young lady out.”

“She’s a valid visa holder, she is paying taxes. She is adding value to this business. She has a visa that will allow her to work here. She’s here lawfully. She’s smart. She’s intelligent. She adds value to our country, and I’ll find a way to fix this problem,” Graham continued.

At the same time, Senator Graham expressed that he is “all for extreme vetting when it comes to terrorist-rich countries,” but added that those who are legally in the U.S. “cannot [be put] in the net of terrorism.” In discussing his view on the order that caused Zinouri’s situation, he said he believes the executive order “was issued without thinking it through.”

“The mistake you make here is lumping everybody into one big pot,” he said. “The interpreter who was detained in New York for 17–19 hours was a big mistake.”

Graham, continued, “I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan 40 times in the last decade. We could not fight or win the war without people over there helping us. If you want to win the war against radical Islam, you’re going to need Muslim partners. And when it comes to a young lady like this, this is exactly the type of person we want to be part of America.”

The Clemson Undergraduate Student Senate has drafted a resolution to express their support for Zinouri’s homecoming and the return of any Clemson students or faculty that the executive order could affect. Bart Knijenburg, a professor of computing at Clemson University, shared the declaration of support from Clemson students on Twitter.

Still unsure of the outcome of her situation, Nazanin tweeted from Iran to express her appreciation for the devoted work of Senator Graham and Senator Scott. She also tweeted to thank her South Carolina support system and community.

The concern for Zinouri’s troubling situation goes beyond Clemson and has broken down schools rivalries momentarily. It has reached the hearts of people all over the state and the country.

Many South Carolinians are pleased with their representatives quick reaction to Zinouri’s situation, which resulted from an executive order by President Trump. Senator Graham seems to have serious doubts about effects of the order, which he shared on Twitter last Sunday.

The support for Nazanin Zinouri has been overwhelming. Her employer has created a GoFundme to help with her legal fees and any expenses she may require to get back to the United States. You can donate here to support Nazanin.

Clemson University