Refugee family in Portland impacted by President Trump's executive order
For one refugee family who found solace in Portland, President Trump's executive order on immigrants would've been the difference between life and death.
The Ali family is the classic immigrant story; they came to America for a chance at a better life.
Their dream of obtaining American citizenship is so close, but as each day passes, more and more obstacles seem to get in their way.
The Ali family isn't American by blood, but they don't identify as anything else. They came to America More than two years ago when they no longer felt welcome in their country. Ahmed Ali received death threats for working with the U.S. military in Iraq.
"The militias, ISIS... they threatened me a lot. I moved inside my country nine times to look for a safer place," said Ahmed Ali. "This was extremely scared to live there. I cannot start my a car without searching or my wife search it because she thought there was a bomb."
Like many others who feel trapped in their native land, they look to America to escape.
"When you're looking for a safe place, for stability, you will have this American dream."
However, the Alis weren't prepared for President Trump's executive order, which takes away the freedoms they sought and bans them from traveling to-and-from their home country.
"My wife, her father is now dying and she cannot visit him to say goodbye. Imagine that," said Ali.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley held a town hall meeting in Portland Saturday afternoon to voice his concerns over the executive orders. More than 3,600 people came out to support refugees and immigrants like the Alis.
"It really hurts our national security. Also it's just out of sync with the fundamental DNA of our nation," said Sen. Merkley.
While many are fighting to preserve those freedoms for the refugees, the dream many tried so hard to obtain is getting farther out of reach.
"I left everything behind. I lost everything and now I feel like I'm living in a big prison," said Ali.
Ali says it took him seven years before he was allowed to even enter the U.S., on top of the five years he will need to wait to become a U.S. citizen.