Governor Wolf Welcomes Assali Family Members to Pennsylvania

February 06, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – The Assali family, legal immigrants to the United States, finally reunited at the JFK International Airport this morning after they were barred from entering the country last week at the Philadelphia Airport following confusion about the president’s executive order. Governor Wolf was with the family in Allentown today to welcome them back to their home in Pennsylvania. To view video of the governor’s remarks, click here.

The governor made the following remarks:

“This is who we are and it’s really wonderful to welcome the entire family. Think of what they’ve been through. They’ve been trying to get an immigration visa since 2003. They haven’t asked for anything special, they have gone through the process for over 13 years to get to this point. They came to Philadelphia with the assumption that they had a legal visa and they were going to be allowed to immigrate and be reunited with their family here in Allentown, here in Pennsylvania. And there in Philadelphia they were turned back and told to go back Syria and they did.

So this is a great day. It not only brings this family together, which is a really happy event, but it brings really great people into our commonwealth, into Pennsylvania. People who have gone through the process, done everything, dotted every “I,” crossed every “t,” and made it here. So I want thank you [the Assali family] for your perseverance. It’s thanks to you that we have such a great commonwealth and we have such a great population. I want to thank you [Mrs. and Dr. Assali] for doing everything to make sure your family was reunited.

“I also want to thank Congressman Dent. He was in New York to meet the family and he has done the right thing. This is one more example, I’ll be giving my budget speech tomorrow, of how we can work across the party divide. This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue, this is an American issue and I’m really proud to stand with Congressman Dent in this process. He’s done some really good things.

“I would like to really pay tribute to the family. They have gone through an amazing journey to get here. They came to Philadelphia, went back to Damascus. Their trip today was travelling by car to Beirut, and then from Beirut to Abu Dhabi, and then Abu Dhabi to Kennedy Airport, and then from Kennedy Airport to here.  This has been a long, long trip. This family is finally reunited after a long, long time of getting to the point where they could be together and I am proud to be here to greet them as the governor of Pennsylvania. I hope as you get settled that you find Pennsylvania every bit as attractive as all the rest of us Pennsylvanians have.”

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