DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Nine travelers who were detained at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport were all released Sunday, and they, along with family members, recalled how time was spent while waiting to learn of their fate.
Many, like Barsiana Ghotbi of Iran, landed at DFW Airport only to be told they may be deported.
“As we entered the Dallas airport, they told us our visa has been revoked,” said Ghotbi. “I felt really shocked. Very frustrated. I couldn’t believe we were being deported.”
SMU student Tarek Al Olabi spent the day clinging to hope as he could only wait to hear if his visiting parents from Syria would be released.
“We were emotionally and physically exhausted because of rumors they’d send them back home,” said Al Olabi. “Then other rumors they’d be released every hour.”
Days seemed like years throughout the weekend, but eventually, good news arrived for those who waited.
Al Olabi’s parents, along with seven other detainees, were cleared by customs and allowed to be reunited to family members in Dallas.
Exhaustion, relief and optimism were written on everyone’s faces.
Barsiana Ghotbi’s first taste of North Texas got off to a rough start, but she says she’s grateful for the simple gestures of hospitality at DFW Airport.
“They treated us very kindly. They tried to provide us with anything we wanted,” said Ghotbi. “There weren’t many facilities… it’s an airport. But we had food, drinks and coffee.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings met with the detainees and offered his apologies to all those affected by President Donald Trump’s executive order on extreme vetting.
DFW Airport was filled with protesters throughout the weekend calling for the release of the detainees.
“I’m proud of the protesters,” said Mayor Rawlings. “I’m proud of DFW Airport and all the individuals who work to take care of them.”
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