Syrian family set to see new Allentown home sent back

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) -- Six of Sarmad Assali's loved ones were forced back to Syria within hours of their arrival in Philadelphia after President Donald Trump's travel ban went into effect this past weekend.

"I am angry. I'm asking myself, why did this happen," Sarmad Assali said.

On Monday, Sarmad gave Action News a tour of the home she and her husband purchased and renovated in Allentown as a gift to the family members they were expecting on Saturday.

The Assalis have since been working with immigration attorneys and staying in contact with their loved ones who are now back in Damascus.

"They are just waiting to see what's going to happen. They were very angry about the way they were treated," Sarmad said.

Allentown City Solicitor Susan Ellis Wild says the most disturbing part is that the Assalis worked more than 13 years to secure all the paperwork needed, including visas, for them to enter the US.

Ellis says not only were their visas revoked, but they were not allowed to make phone calls during their detainment at PHL.

"They had followed all of the rules. Every I was dotted, every T was crossed and this still happened. To see this was unexpected is an understatement," Wild said.

Making matters worse is that the Assalis are Orthodox Christians which is a persecuted group in Syria.

Now, Ghassan and Sarmad Assali say all they want for their love ones is the same thing they were afforded when they came to the US - a chance at the American Dream.

"We don't need any money from the United States. I bought this house for them. I furnished the house. I'm ready to help them start a new life," Ghassan said.

"I am just hoping that somebody somewhere...I know we're getting all the help just to bring them here safely to be with us, that's all my hope is. That's all we want," Sarmad said.

The Assalis are especially anxious to get Matthew Asali to the US. The teenager is in high school in Syria and graduates in June. He then would become eligible to be drafted into the Syrian Army which is embroiled in a civil war.
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