Long Island Woman Fights to Get Husband Home After Trump Order Leaves Him Stranded in Saudi Arabia

A Long Island man is having trouble returning home as a result of President Trump's new travel ban, and his wife is fighting to bring him back.

"I am angry. I am outraged," his wife Barbara Gundrum told NBC 4 New York Monday. "He's at the airport [in Saudi Arabia] right now, along with hundreds of other families trying to get home."

Abdulelah Othman was visiting his mother in Saudi Arabia, but is having difficulty getting back to his home and wife in Selden, New York, because he is a citizen of Yemen, one of the seven Muslim-majority countries included in the temporary travel ban.

Gundrum said her husband is no threat to anyone, but knows what the executive order is implying.

"He's a terrorist. He's gotta be a terrorist because he comes from Yemen, right?" she said sarcastically. 

Gundrum met Othman in Saudi Arabia while she was working as a nurse, and he was working as a legal secretary. The two have been married five years. 

But not even the green card Othman secured a year ago has helped clear his passage home, his wife says. 

"It's not nice. I'm not good," Othman said over the phone.

Gundrum said her husband wasn't even allowed to buy a planet ticket. 

By phone, Othman told NBC 4 he plans to look for help Tuesday at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia. From their Long Island home, Gundrum has been calling federal officials, asking them to intervene. A spokesperson for Rep. Lee Zeldin's office says the congressman is currently working to help Othman get home. 

Gundrum said her spirits were lifted only after joining protesters at JFK demonstrating against the travel ban.

"This whole thing, it shouldn't be happening," she said. "He loves America, he loves his home. He loves being part of this country." 

Despite the incident, Othman said he still loves the U.S. and hopes to become a citizen one day. He's continuing to study English and wants to become an auto mechanic. 

Among other local people stranded overseas is Saira Rafiee, a doctoral student enrolled at the CUNY Graduate Center. She was spending winter break visiting family in her native Iran, one of the seven countries affected by Trump's 90-day travel ban. Rafiee was trying to return to New York, to school, when customs officers in Abu Dhabi told her she couldn't go back because of the president's executive order.

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