As the holiday season comes upon us, I felt it pertinent to share my own story of what feels to me to be an “invisible problem.” I am a Mainer, born and raised in Farmingdale, and in 2015 had the incredible opportunity to travel to Germany to complete my master’s degree though a scholarship program. During this time, I also happened to find the love of my life, who was studying at the same university as me. This wonderful man from Iran is now my fiancé, and we are currently still living in Germany.

Since the deplorable Executive Order 13769 — the Muslim Ban — was issued in 2017, we have found ourselves in complete limbo. This horrific, xenophobic, un-American act has turned our lives upside down and put severe barriers in our plans to move together to the U.S., as well as the ability to travel to visit my family in Maine. For the second year in a row, my fiancé is barred from coming home with me for Christmas, simply due to his nationality.

To my fellow Mainers, while you come together with friends and family this holiday season, I wish you warmth and happiness for the loved ones you are fortunate enough to have close to you at this time of year. But I implore you to have empathy for those affected by the ban who cannot do so, since I represent one of several who come from even our smallest communities.

My fiancé and I are fortunate enough to be together abroad, and this is a hurdle we can eventually overcome. But for others, this is ripping their lives apart, separating parents from children, siblings, and spouses from each other. Please, stay engaged and activated on this issue, and don’t let us become invisible.

Dorothy Estrada

Rome

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