Immigration: In Bay Ridge, A Door Shuts

In the wake of President Trump’s “Muslim Ban,” immigration to a vital Arab community may be at risk.

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, has an Arabic flavor, perhaps more than any other part of New York City. Streets there are lined with shops displaying abayas or advertising shawarma as people pass by, chatting away on their cell phones in fluent Arabic. This part of the city also has one of the largest Syrian concentrations.

So, it may come as no surprise that residents are concerned about President Trump’s executive order on January 27 barring immigration from seven Muslim majority countries. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen are on the list of countries banned from travelling to the U.S. for 90 days. Those countries include large refugee counts too, and all refugees are banned for 120 days.

The order is popularly known as the Muslim Ban, since all seven countries are majority Muslim. But Ghassan Keriaky, a resident of Bay Ridge and a historian on Syrians in New York, points out that the ban affects the entire Arab community in Bay Ridge, including Christians and Jews. In any event, many Bay Ridge residents are worried about their futures, and their ability to sponsor family members still trying to escape Syria.

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