Carly Harris fell in love with someone who she can’t spend any time with.
According to CNN, Harris, a Mormon college student, fell in love with Soufiane El Yassami, a Muslim fast-food employee that Harris met during a volunteer job in Lesbos, an island off of Greece's coast. But their relationship faces tremendous hurdles now that immigration law in Greece and the United States is keeping them apart.
El Yassami, who grew up in Morocco, fled his country to Greece where he hoped to find work, USA Today College reported. Harris, meanwhile, volunteered to help Camp Moria because of the conditions she and some friends noticed.
She met El Yassami who “told her she had beautiful eyes,” USA Today College reported. She didn’t think much of it, but he kept talking to her. On the last day of their stay in the camp, he asked to kiss her and she refused. She felt right about her decision, according to USA Today.
Trouble came the next day. Greece closed its doors to immigrants from the African country. El Yassami was arrested and sent back to Morocco because he was not granted asylum in Greece, CNN reported.
“Volunteers were running, and people were yelling, ‘They took them! They took the Moroccans to jail, they arrested them!’” Harris told USA Today. “And instantly, I just knew he was one of them.”
Harris, who studied at the University of Utah didn’t hear from El Yassami. She soon discovered he was one of the many North Africans who were arrested, so she reached out to him on Facebook. He received the message when he was in jail.
It’s through social media that the two have kept their relationship alive.
"When she sent me a message on Facebook I was really, really happy," El Yassami told CNN. "I met a lot of different people who came to the camp, but she was the only one who contacted me, who cared about me."15 comments on this story
The two hoped that El Yassami would be released and would be able visit Harris in the U.S. They’ve looked into visa requirements. But all seems to be on hold as they wait to see what happens with President Donald Trump’s executive order, which bans immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The two hope to move to Guinea-Bissau, an African country just off the coast, CNN reported.
They hope, too, that other couples won’t suffer the same fate.
"I think about what a world we could live in if instead of building walls and closing our borders, putting them in camps, making them feel like animals, if we just embraced them," Harris said. "How much that could change our world."