Zeeland business owner closes shop, heading to Canada amid immigration uncertainty

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ZEELAND, Mich. -- A Zeeland business owner suddenly closed shop this week and left a note posted on the front door that said it's in his family's best interest to leave the country. The note led to an outpouring of reaction on social media.

Basel Al Yasin just opened his electronics repair shop, Restoring Electronics, in May. FOX 17 learned he settled down in Zeeland after fleeing war torn Syria.

Rebekah Rhys read part of the Facebook post she wrote in response to Yasin's closure: "Someone who's escaping terror found their way to Zeeland to make a new life, contribute to the local economy and feel safe. Instead, they ended up feeling anything but."

Rhys works just a few doors down from Yasin's shuttered business and says she was surprised to find the shop had closed. The reason for the close was more unsettling for her, though she never met him.

In his note, Yasin said he's leaving the U.S. with his family to head to Canada because of uncertainty over immigration policy. He's concerned a change in policy will force him to leave in the near future.

"It's easy to dismiss [immigration issues] when you're looking at a policy and it feels far away," Rhys told FOX 17. "But when we're talking about real people and real situations with real families and real businesses, somebody who's contributing to the local economy, they're not taking, they're giving. I just think it needs to be shared because a face needs to be put on this issue."

Just down the street, Taylor Blom at Next Door Photos took Yasin under his wing this past winter after learning of Yasin's story. Blom said Yasin fled to the U.S. with his two kids and an electrical engineering degree. He entered the country on a business visa and then applied for asylum.

Blom learned of Yasin's talent while Yasin was a traveling cell phone repairman only making minimum wage. Blom and his business partners wanted to help the budding entrepreneur. "From the beginning, we said we want to go into business and partner together," Blom explained. "And if there's any way we help bless you, in any way, we want to do that."

Blom said national news kept Yasin on edge, with "a lot of speculation about what the current administration was going to do and how rulings could change and effect his legal standing to be here. And how that almost seemingly could be taken away at any moment."


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  • Jessie

    There is clearly more to this story, I don’t buy his explanation one bit.
    I would sooner believe that he has something to hide from the extreme vetting that is now being done to the asylum seekers.
    Innocent people do not pack up and run off like that.

  • Adam

    The fear that Ms Rhys and her political comrades are peddling is what ran this gentleman off, not actual policy. He’s just another victim of the lefts rabid hatred

  • Chery

    Do any of the people who commented here go to church? If you’re Irish, Polish, Greek, Italian, to name a few, your relatives were discriminated against when they arrived here. It doesn’t matter if they came on a visa, were illegal or green-carded, all of them as cultural groups were berated, put down, made fun of, ridiculed, beaten up, killed, and kept from jobs. And they all came because of the promise of a better life in America. It’s too bad none of you have learned from your ancestors what it feels like to not be welcomed, to live in fear of retaliation by those who are not informed or educated or who live and breathe by their “opinions” with absolutely no facts or documentation. These people felt unwelcomed, or fearful, and anticipated what the future MIGHT bring, and moved to Canada to avoid any problems that might arise and to protect their families. They went to Canada to be with people who live their spirituality, and don’t just wear it on Sundays.