Congresswoman Norma Torres

Representing the 35th District of California
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Torres Invites Sudanese Immigrant Detained at LAX as Guest to Presidential Address

February 24, 2017
Press Release

ONTARIO, CA – Today, Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) announced that she will be joined at the President’s joint address to Congress by Areej Ali, a Sudanese-born green card holder who was initially prohibited from boarding a flight back to the US, and then detained once she arrived at LAX as a result of Donald Trump’s travel ban.


“I invited Areej to join me at the President’s first address to Congress to show him the face of just one of the innocent people who has been swept up by his impulsive, destructive policies,” said Torres.  “Areej has been a law-abiding resident of this country for twenty years, yet she was treated like a criminal and nearly prevented from returning to her only home because of Trump’s ill-conceived travel ban.  While this ban has been halted by the courts, the President has stated on several occasions that he intends to reintroduce a new version in the near future. 


“I hope he sees that Areej and countless others like her are assets to this country, not collateral damage for his dangerous, isolationist view of the world.  Trump may claim the ban and similar measures are necessary for public safety, but the facts just don’t back that up.  By stoking fears against immigrants and targeting entire groups of people solely based on their country of origin, he has only created fear and chaos at home and tarnished our reputation around the world.”


Areej Ali, a resident of Fontana, immigrated to the United States from Sudan in 1993.  She was visiting Sudan for the first time in over 20 years to attend her sister’s wedding when the travel ban first went into effect.  Ali was initially prohibited from boarding her connecting flight to the United States from Saudi Arabia, only being allowed to do so after attorneys intervened, and despite being a Legal Permanent Resident, she was then detained for nearly two hours upon landing at LAX before being allowed to reenter the country.