Read St. Charles doctor's letter to patients

Posted3/6/2017 5:30 AM

Editor's note: This is the letter Rany Jazayerli posted for his patients at his offices in St. Charles, Sycamore and Oak Park. It was written before a federal judge put a hold on President Donald Trump's initial executive order banning immigrants from seven mainly Muslim countries.

To our valued patients at Clear Skin Dermatology,


When my parents immigrated to the United States from Syria in 1970, they arrived with the clothes on their back, $300 in their pockets, and my father's medical degree from the University of Damascus. They did not know what the future held for them. They did not know yet that they would make America their permanent home, that my dad would be a practicing cardiologist for 40 years, that they would have four children and now 10 grandchildren who would all be fiercely loyal to this great nation.

But they did know that America was the land of opportunity, one that like no other country in the world welcomed immigrants into the great tapestry of this nation, that accepted them as full citizens in due time. They knew that there was no better place on earth for two people seeking economic opportunity and escaping the tyranny of their homeland to start their lives anew.

Nearly a half-century later, America has honored its promise to my family. I have never been made to feel, not even for a moment, like anything other than a true American. That my parents were not born here, that they speak English with a foreign accent, has never felt like a stigma for me -- on the contrary, it has always been a great source of pride, that my parents chose to be American, and America gave them that choice. And I would like to think that my family has honored its promise to America. My brother is also a physician, my sisters are a lawyer and corporate executive, and I am confident our children will also contribute to this country to the best of their ability.

I thank God every day that my parents left their homeland to come to America, and that America welcomed them in. That gratitude has only increased since the Syrian government began brutally killing its own people six years ago, triggering an apocalyptic civil war that has created the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen since World War II.

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On Jan. 27, the White House issued an executive order that blocks any citizen of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country for 90 days, and bans Syrian refugees indefinitely. People who live and work in the United States, even Green Card holders -- lawful permanent residents who have lived in America for a decade or more -- who were out of the country when the order was signed have been refused re-entry into the United States. Even children have been separated from their families by border officials. The order was given in the name of national security, even though not a single immigrant from any of those seven countries has ever committed a deadly terror attack on American soil.

My job is to provide my patients with the very best dermatologic care, not to engage in politics with them. And as someone who has voted in a presidential elections for both Republicans and Democrats in the past, I certainly do not want to alienate patients on either side of the political spectrum. But I do not believe this is a political or partisan issue. My parents would not be allowed to immigrate to America today. I have relatives in Syria today who are no longer allowed to enter the country. The wife of one physician colleague, who happened to be visiting her parents when the order was announced, has been denied permission to return.

It breaks my heart that immigrants who love America and everything that it stands for are being denied the same opportunity my parents were given, to work hard to make this country an even better place.

I have great confidence that the ideals of this nation will win out over fear in time. I am optimistic that a country that has welcomed immigrants for centuries, whose Statue of Liberty faces out across a vast ocean to the rest of the world as a beacon of freedom, will not let its founding principles be tarnished for good. But we must remain true to those principles as they are spelled out in our Constitution. And we must not be afraid to speak out when those principles are being threatened.

Thank you for reading, and for understanding. And may God continue to bless America.

Rany Jazayerli, M.D.

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