Zeeshan Usmani — a 38-year-old Pakistani national and Muslim who works in the United States — is "happy" that Donald Trump has won the presidency.
Earlier this year, Usmani's wife and three children moved from North Carolina to Pakistan after his seven-year-old son was beaten at school. Usmani posted about the incident on Facebook, saying that his family would wait until after the election to decide whether or not to return to the United States. The post became viral.
Usmani, who works in Berkeley, California, sees a Trump presidency and the anti-immigrant sentiment that he expects to come along with it as a way for the world to focus on its own problems and build relationship with other nations as the U.S. grows insular and heads "south," he said.
"My country will be left alone to solve its own problems," he told NBC News. "We will go globalized to solve regional problems — become closer to Russia, China, Bangladesh."
A Pakistani national, on paper, Usmani had lived the American dream.
Born in a small village, he came to the United States in 2004 on a Fulbright grant to work toward a graduate degree in computer science at the Florida Institute of Technology. He ended up staying for six years, earning the graduate degree, a Ph.D., and working in Chicago and New York City, he said. In his time in the states, he went from not knowing much about the country to enjoying it, even writing a book in urdu about his experiences.
"People here are like people everywhere," he said. "They love their family; they want to work. I became a very promotional speaker for America back home."
He went back to Pakistan in 2010, he said, and returned to the United States in 2012 as an Eisenhower Fellow. But once he returned, the country he had grown to like had changed, he said — in part because of the rise of Donald Trump.
One day, one of his sons came home upset because his classmates called Usmani a terrorist because of his beard, he said. The mosque Usmani attended was vandalized and one that he had gone to while living in Florida was burned in an arson fire. A neighbor in his apartment complex cursed at his family, he said.
"We became very cautious," Usmani said. "I was walking with my wife one day, and we were harassed. We made a rule that when Trump appeared on television, we wouldn't go outside for a few hours."
The dialogue that emerged during the Trump campaign upset Usmani, who is quick to point out that six of the U.S.'s 2016 Nobel laureates were immigrants, that the majority of billion-dollar startups in the U.S. were founded by immigrants, and that 42 percent of cancer researchers are foreign born.
"I came here — if you go to my home town, you know how much of a shock it is — how hard I tried to melt in to this pot, to fit in and be comfortable," he said. "It will be a good wake up call for America as well. While we are working, we've been labeled as terrorists, someone to be monitored. If you do not want us, it is fine."
At the time his family moved back to Pakistan, Usmani said he'd wait until after the election to decide whether or not to bring them back to the states. After speaking to his wife last night, Usmani said she and the children will be staying there.
"Once America realizes how much damage they've done, they will welcome us again. Maybe in four years, maybe 10, maybe 20," Usmani said. "We will have more respect and the trust that I would say we deserve for working day and night."