A Toronto runner who got Canadian citizenship to ensure he could enter the U.S. despite a travel ban is all set to run the Boston Marathon on Monday.
For Soroush Hatami, it’s been a long, frustrating journey, but he cleared the latest hurdle when he became a Canadian citizen in March. Hatami, born in Iran, emigrated from Iran to Toronto in 2013.
“It’s a rainy, windy day,” Hatami told CBC’s Metro Morning on Monday in Boston shortly before 7 a.m.
“Everyone looks ready. You can feel the energy and the vibe in the whole area. Everyone is cheering us. Everyone is shaking hands. The buses are lining up to pick us up.”
Hatami called the ban “discriminatory” and an executive order that has created problems for many people.
Under the latest version of the travel ban, citizens of certain countries, including Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, face restrictions when trying to enter the U.S. Citizens of those countries are barred from getting visas that would allow them to go to the U.S. permanently as immigrants.
Hatami qualified for the Boston Marathon in October 2017, but initially, he was banned from entering the U.S. because of his Iranian citizenship.
Now, with his Canadian passport, he says he is “so happy” he is running in the marathon, but he said the race is a fight about a larger issue.
Hatami and his friend Daniel Sellers have created Banned on the Run — a website and fundraising effort that aim to raise about $26,000 US to fight the travel ban. A total of $6,536.60 US has been raised so far.
“To be able to be here, I went through lots of difficulties. This campaign, Banned on the Run … this is my Boston,” he said.