Father of two students gets caught up in immigration ban

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The father of two Baldwin students was caught up in the immigration ban placed by President Trump over the weekend, even though the family is Hindu and from Nepal, rather than being Muslim from one of the seven countries targeted by the order.

Senior Ambika Bhattarai said her father, Budhi Bhattarai, had flown from Nepal, where he had been visiting relatives, through Hong Kong and then on to New York. The final leg of his trip was supposed to be a flight back home to Pittsburgh, but he was stopped by government authorities at the airport in New York and was told he would not be allowed to fly and would have to find another way home.

Authorities said he could contact his family and tell them he would not be allowed to fly, and then make other arrangements for getting home, Ambika said.

An older daughter then drove to New York to pick him up at the airport and drive him back home.

When her father and older sister made it back to Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon, her father noticed that the lock had been cut off his suitcase. Books from Nepal and other possessions had been confiscated, she said.

Ambika Bhattarai, whose younger sister Namrata Bhattarai is a freshman, said the incident had left her shaken.

“We have been here for four years, and this ban makes us concerned for our safety,” Bhattarai said.

She said her father works for an electronics company and she believes that living in the United States has given her opportunities that she would not have if she lived in Nepal. It is unfair to take away those opportunities from people who need them, she said.

“It makes me sad. I’m scared, but I’m more sad for the people who aren’t able to come here,” she said.

Ambika’s father was unavailable for comment.