Setare S. Arashloo

Day Two

An insider’s perspective on the creative casualties imposed by current sanctions on US immigration. A NYC-based Iranian artist provides an intimate account of what it is like to consider a future in which time and place are collapsed into an imminent void.

Setare S. Arashloo

Two days under the shadow of possible Executive Order regarding immigrants and refugees from 7 Muslim countries: Yesterday I was writing back and forth with my lawyer, friends in similar situations and refreshing the news page as soon as I could take time off of work. Yesterday morning I discovered that Bank of America had applied a “soft restriction” to my bank account, as my current visa status, which is stated on my current documents, will expire in 30 days. As a citizen of a sanctioned country the bank can and did cancel all of my cards. I withdrew the money and closed the account as I was advised to, before I face a complete blockage on my accounts.

With fear, confusion and frustration I left the bank and headed to the Washington Square rally to show solidarity and see what was going on. I heard so many worried voices, as the order fell as a big shock on everything those people had planned for their lives. Every face looked confused and shocked. At night I got all the kind messages and offers for help and support, each of which made me conscious of how many great friends I am forced to miss. We even fantasized about my long time dream of a road trip in an RV.

I woke up with a headache, stuffy nose and sore throat, thinking I should make it to my doctor’s appointment ‘cause who knows when I am going to lose my job and if so, my insurance! From the doctor’s office in the morning till a few hours ago I was running around and talking on the phone to get some documents to my lawyer who doesn’t know whether or not I should apply for a visa renewal in this situation!

In my head I am going from plan A to plan B to an alternative plan C to how much savings I have in case I need to go for plan D and what/who do I have to leave under each possible option. Every single option takes so much from me.

This order is essentially another wall. I have no time to choose which side of it I can/want to be on.