Bakersfield doctor held at airport following President Donald Trump's travel ban

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jan 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 19:13:29-05

A Bakersfield family physician was held in an airport for nine hours after returning from Saudi Arabia following President Trump's travel ban.

Dr. Sarwa Aldoori has been a board certified surgeon with over 35 years of experience women's health and wellness, according to her bio.

She currently practices in Central Bakersfield.


Read the full story from the Associated Press:

Dr. Sarwa Aldoori, a family physician from Bakersfield, California, was returning home Saturday from an eight-day religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia when she was startled to be pulled aside from the rest of her group.

"Everything was OK until I got to the customs checking point and my colleagues and friends went through and the guy looked at my passport and eyed me and he said step aside," Aldoori said Sunday, her voice shaking as she tearfully described the ordeal.

She was released and reunited with her husband after nine hours.

Aldoori, a legal permanent resident of the U.S., said she made a similar pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia last year - "a very special visit in the life of every Muslim" - without incident.

As she cried and asked to know why she couldn't leave the airport this time, the doctor, who has lived in the United States since 1996, said an officer finally told her, "It's because you were born in Iraq."

"I looked at him and I said, 'You know, I am 62 years old. What did I do wrong?' He didn't say anything, he just looked at the floor and said have a seat."

Although angry and shaken, she said she still plans to become a U.S. citizen someday.

"I'm not going to let something like that stop me," she said defiantly. "We used to have decent people in government and now we don't."