Save Aysha and Her Family from Being Executed by the Taliban
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Aysha and her family are in critical danger because Aysha's father, Muhammad, is a heroic Afghan interpreter who worked for the US mission in Afghanistan for more than 10 years and was threatened with death by the Taliban. As NBC News recently reported, the Department of Homeland Security has been stonewalling several members of Congress for nearly a year on why Muhammad and his family were denied visas. The family’s case was recently re-opened, but they remain in critical danger as they wait.
As a US military interpreter, Muhammad directly saved American soldiers' lives, including one time he dashed into an ambushed vehicle under Taliban fire. His military supervisors praised his work ethic, dedication, and trustworthiness, and his incredible skill of fluently speaking six languages made him indispensable on Special Forces night raids on Taliban insurgents. But the Taliban considers him a criminal and is working hard to find and kill Muhammad, his wife, and his young daughters. The whole family has been living in hiding for nearly five years. They are living in daily fear of being discovered and killed by the Taliban. Even the children are unable to leave their apartment. Leaks in the roof have made the young girls sick on several occasions from getting infections from bacteria in the water or getting cold in the winter. Since the family is in hiding, Muhammad is unable to work. If you are able to contribute to supporting the Kamran family while we work to get them visas, please visit our Go Fund Me page.
Meet Aysha, Muhammad, and the rest of their family in our 2-min YouTube video and help us by sharing the video (especially with your representatives in Congress). As I wrote about in USA Today, my family and I tried to sponsor Aysha and her family for humanitarian parole to save their lives, but the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied the cases despite the strong support of a former Navy Lieutenant who personally worked with Muhammad in Afghanistan. Aysha's aunt and uncle in the United States offered to care for her and her sisters, but USCIS refused to even save the kids, making the ridiculous claim that Aysha and her sisters are “security concerns.”
On May 22nd, Representatives Jamie Raskin, Tom Reed, Pramila Jayapal, and John Garamendi sent a letter to USCIS reiterating their request for a briefing on the family’s case. Previously, in July 2018, 38 bipartisan members of Congress, sent a letter to former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asking to review the reason that the family's refugee case was denied. USCIS took several months to respond to the letter, and they are still refusing to answer Congress’s questions about why the case was denied then Secretary Nielsen promising a briefing to Rep. Raskin in December 2018. USCIS has also ignored Senate offices that have contacted them about the case. Four bipartisan members of Congress then sent a letter on February 14th, 2019 demanding to know why the family's case was denied. In response, USCIS re-opened the case but is still ignoring Congress’s request to review the reason for the denial. Tell USCIS that ignoring Congress is unacceptable. USCIS must approve Muhammad and his family's case to save them from the Taliban before it is too late. USCIS doesn't question that leaving this family behind is a death sentence. They just don't care enough about refugees to even save a toddler from the Taliban.
Muhammad and his family's story is summarized below and has been covered by NBC News, The Christian Post, USA Today, McClatchy DC, The Sacramento Bee, RedState, The Ithaca Voice (here, here, and here), No One Left Behind, and the Evangelical Immigration Table. You can also hear Muhammad's story in his own words in our 4-min YouTube video or in a recent interview on The Michael Calderin Show. Please contact your representatives in Congress ask them to help with the case. You can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. If you want to contribute to supporting the Kamran family while we work to get them visas, please visit our Go Fund Me page.
When the US military mostly pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014, the Taliban gained strength in Afghanistan and killed many interpreters or their family members in revenge. One of Muhammad's brothers and a nephew, Sahil, who was also an interpreter, were shot and left for dead in an assassination attempt on Muhammad and his family. After the Taliban ambush, Muhammad fled his home district, just in time to escape a second Taliban attack that destroyed their family home. Consequently, Muhammad lost all contact with US military personnel who could have helped him apply for an SIV visa.
When I learned about Muhammad and his family's plight over a year ago, I was determined to do everything possible to save their lives. Muhammad had tried to apply to the US as a refugee on his own, but he was denied for “discretionary security reasons,” a very common problem for former military interpreters and their families. When Muhammad's refugee case was denied, he was devastated and lost all hope for saving his life and his family's lives. He said the only option left for him was to surrender to the Taliban, thinking that after the Taliban tortured and killed him, they would stop looking for his children. I told him not to give up and promised him to find a way to save their lives.
Please help me keep my promise to Muhammad to save his life and his family's lives. They do not deserve to suffer and die because of Muhammad's service to the US military. My family hired a lawyer and filed a humanitarian parole case to sponsor Muhammad and his family to come live in the US while he works to get permanent, legal status in the US. Our humanitarian parole case for them may be our last chance to save their lives.
In what our lawyer says is the most egregious case she has ever seen, USCIS denied Muhammad and his family's humanitarian parole cases because his refugee case had been denied and without even bothering to figure out why the refugee case had been denied. Thus, they denied Muhammad's humanitarian parole case for “discretionary reasons” without even knowing what those discretionary reasons were. This is effectively a death sentence for the entire family.
When our lawyer pleaded with USCIS to at least let Muhammad's young daughters come live with their aunt and uncle in the US, the director of the Humanitarian Affairs Branch of USCIS, John Bird, refused to approve any of the family's cases and made the absurd claim that granting a one-year visa to anyone in the family, including Muhammad's 2- and 4-year-old daughters, was a security concern. Because of USCIS's policy and Muhammad's service to the US military, Muhammad's children were literally born with a death sentence. Mr. Bird acknowledges that Muhammad and his family meet all the criteria for humanitarian parole, and he does not question that they will be killed if left in their current situation. He just does not care enough about Muslim refugees to even save a toddler from the Taliban.
Worse yet, in October 2017 USCIS granted humanitarian parole to family members of Las Zetas drug cartel members who murdered US ICE agents in Mexico, so that the family members of the murderers could attend a trial in Washington, D.C. Thus, USCIS is literally treating Muhammad and his family worse than criminals.
Sign the petition to tell USCIS to approve Muhammad's and his family's cases quickly. Muhammad is a hero who faithfully served the US military for over 9 years and is now in grave danger because the Taliban is determined to get revenge. He has already lost everything except his and his family's lives because of his service to America, but he is still proud of his choice to work for the US military. All he wants in return is the chance to bring his daughters to safety and to give them a future. If USCIS does not re-open and approve his case, he will be left behind to be killed by the same terrorists that he risked his life to fight for so many years.
Please call your Congressional representatives and ask them to support our effort asking DHS for information on why they denied Muhammad's case. If you need contact information on your Congressional representatives, use this link to look them up: https://whoismyrepresentative.com/
Email me (Kristy Perano) at save.aysha (at) gmail.com to find out how you can help or for more information on Muhammad's case. Please also email me if you know Muhammad personally or if you know any government officials or reporters who may be able to help raise public awareness of Muhammad's case.
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