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Iranian-Born College Athlete Fears Traveling After Ban

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EDINBURG – A University of Texas Rio Grande Valley athlete said the executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S. could have a major impact on his academics.  

Iranian-born Ali Khazanbeik is a junior on the UTRGV men’s golf team. He grew up an avid soccer player in Germany. He said he never imagined he’d be playing golf in the U.S.

Khazanbeik said he currently feels uneasy about his status in the U.S. Despite having a student visa, he said leaving to visit his family in Germany or Iran could cause him his academic and athletic future.

“It feels like they take away a little bit of freedom of me,” he said.

While he doesn’t plan on leaving the country within the next 90 days, Khazanbeik said he does intend to return to Germany over the summer break to work on his golfing skills.

The college student said he also plays competitively in Germany. Khazanbeik said he’s afraid the executive order may be extended which could halt his academics and athletic endeavors at UTRGV.

“If they extend it, then I would have a big problem… If I could go home, then I couldn’t come back. It would also mess up my career and my degree,” he said.

Khazanbeik has kept contact with family and friends abroad. He said President Trump’s decision is unfair to the people of the seven countries affected.

“I think they didn’t think through it, what it could affect,” he said. “They saw Muslim and terror. They’re also two words you should not combine.”

For now, the UTRGV athlete said he will try to focus on his studies and prepare for the upcoming golf season. 

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