Yemeni American Merchants Association of New York Hosts Press Conference on Diversity Visas and the Executive Order Travel Ban

Press Contacts/Media Inquiries:

Debbie Almontaser (917) 559-8480

Zaid Nagi (718) 730-2628

Khaled’s dream was broken when he could not give the exact number of students who attended the same large school that he graduated from 17 years ago.


On Tuesday, July 11, 2017, the Yemeni American Merchants Association of New York (YAMA) will host a press conference on the Executive Order’s unique impact on the Yemeni community and the obstacles endured by Yemeni Diversity Visa holders. YAMA will be joined by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Amnesty International. The press conference will be held:


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

11:00 AM EST


99 Madison Ave., 15th Floor

New York, NY 10016


The Yemeni community has been greatly impacted by the Arab and Muslim Ban. As nationals of a poverty-stricken country in dire need of humanitarian aid, Yemeni Diversity Visa (DV) lottery recipients will tell their stories of sacrifice and perseverance. Their voices are crucial and valuable to bring to light a system made for them to fail and lose hope, which was exacerbated under the Executive Orders.


Yemeni nationals leave their homes and sell all their belongings in order to get to Malaysia or India for their DV interviews. They encounter many obstacles and barriers to get to their interview to ultimately be told their case is on hold or rejected. They are afraid to leave, as they may not be allowed to re-enter Malaysia or India and could miss an appointment or have their application declared abandoned. These difficulties are compounded because Yemeni nationals do not speak the country’s language and have limited-to-no work opportunities to survive; most have no family support and cannot afford to go back to Yemen.


Aziz M., a poor but hardworking young man, applied for the 2017 DV in hope of changing his future. Aziz is the sole provider for his mom and sisters. The Sana’a-based U.S. Embassy is closed, so Aziz, like all aspiring DV winners, packed his suitcase filled with hopes and dreams and plenty of “IOUs” to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for his interview. But twice he was not allowed into Malaysia and each time he was sent back by the immigration police. After a long time of waiting, suffering and huge costs, he was able to enter Malaysia and was called for an interview.


“During the interview, I was asked weird questions not applicable for the DV applicants at all. I really understood that those questions were asked with the aim of not allowing me to obtain the DV visa to USA.  I tried the best to answer the questions and convince the officer that my documents were true and approved, but the refusal letter had been prepared before I even start the interview”, said Aziz.




The Yemeni American Merchants Association of New York was birthed through the Yemeni Bodega Strike in New York in Protest to the Executive Order Travel Ban. YAMA is an independent, not-for-profit American organization incorporated in the State of New York. YAMA seeks to support the growth and development of Yemeni-American merchants and their families and to represent the business community and advocate on their behalf and to help constituents through education, capacity building, services, information, networking, and advocacy.


The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is the largest Arab-American grassroots civil rights organization in the country. ADC is steadfast in its mission to defend the civil rights of people of Arab decent and protect the Arab-American community against discrimination, stereotypes, and defamation. ADC is unwaveringly committed to opposing the Executive Order Travel Ban through legal, policy, and organizing efforts. We will fight government actions that target our communities based on national origin, ethnicity and/or religion. #NoBanNoWallNoRaids


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