Dr. Kamal Fadlalla, who was visiting his family in Sudan when President Trump issued an executive order banning travel from Sudan and six other countries, was overjoyed today when he arrived back in New York to get back to his job "to help people."
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Fadlalla, a second-year resident in internal medicine at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn who has an H-1B visa for foreign workers in special occupations, had decided to cut his vacation short and return to the U.S. before the ban came down, after he was warned it could happen by friends and the hospital administration.
"My colleagues, they call me, that there is an imminent travel ban, so they advised me ... hospital administration, they called me and said I have to come as soon as possible," he said.
But when he tried to get on his flight at the Khartoum airport on January 29, he said he was told he could not board.
"I took my boarding and everything after that, after the boarding at the gate, they said they called my name and said they cannot, they're not allowing me to board so all this started from there," he said.
So when he heard family that a federal judge in Washington state had issued a temporary restraining order lifting the travel ban Friday night, he jumped at the chance to return, not wanting to risk being unable to get back to his patients.
"My colleagues, friends, family, they text me that this decision was made, in Washington, so everybody was saying congratulations, everything's going to be fine now, so immediately I book my flight," he said.
He expressed concern for how the travel ban could affect not only other doctors like himself, but the hospitals where they work and the patients they serve.
"I'm a little bit worried about my other colleagues, junior colleagues from these countries," he said. "I'm really concerned about them. That is my concern -- they are junior, they work very hard to get in, they work very hard, they spend a lot of money and this is kind of the match, you know, they did the interview, some of them, they're in Sudan right now, they're waiting, they're waiting for the match. I think it's a big -- it's very difficult.
"My colleagues are going to be affected, hospital's going to be affected -- that's for sure, as I said, my patients -- for sure, yea I have, we are following patients, following all patients, so I have to follow my patients, every one of them, they have to see me, he said. "So I'm happy that I'm here now, I can see my patients."