I’m A Refugee From A Banned Country— This Is My American Story

Ari Honarvar
The Establishment
Published in
8 min readFeb 8, 2017

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The author at age 7

While the fate of refugees hangs in the balance of a fierce legal battle, I am compelled to reflect on my past.

AAmerica is my home. When I chose to become a U.S. citizen 20 years ago, I swore to protect it from enemies, foreign and domestic, and I take this oath very seriously. If refugees posed a credible threat, would I vehemently oppose their entry into the U.S.? Absolutely. But there is no evidence suggesting that refugees from the seven banned countries are, or will be, a threat to America. These refugees are escaping terror, and the robust vetting process protecting our borders ensures that this is the case. Yet many of my fellow Americans support the Muslim ban.

I am a refugee from one of these banned countries. This is my story.

I was a rebellious teen. What set me apart from millions of other rebellious teenagers around the world was that my acts of rebellion could have gotten me executed.

That’s because I was a 13-year-old in post-revolution Iran, where the laws deemed any sort of opposition as an act of treason…

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Ari Honarvar
The Establishment

Speaker, performer, refugee advocate| @guardian @washingtonpost and more| The author of Rumi’s Gift and upcoming novel, A Girl Called Rumi rumiwithaview.com