The International Refugee Assistance Project filed a lawsuit this week on behalf of Afkab Hussein, a Somali refugee in Ohio who has been separated from his wife and children for nearly seven years.
His family’s arrival to the US was initially prevented under former President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, however even with the new administration, the family as continued to experience delays.
“We filed this lawsuit on behalf of our client because it’s an unconscionably long period of time to be separated,” IRAP senior litigation staff attorney, Melissa Keaney, told The New Arab.
“It’s been almost seven years. It’s time this family can get back.”
Hussein fled violence in Somalia when he was a child and grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya, where he met his wife, Rhodo.
Since resettling in the US in 2015, he has been able to visit his wife and two young children only twice. In Ohio, he settled in an area with a good school district for his children, costing him extra money. He remains alone, awaiting good news.
His family was approved to join him before the Muslim ban in 2017, but they were then blocked due to the executive order.
They were then approved for travel in January 2020. Their travel was cancelled the day before they were scheduled to leave, after they had sold all of their belongings in anticipation of their resettlement.
IRAP’s refugee resettlement data showed that most refugees who were affected by the ban and previously approved to resettle in the US were either denied or are still in limbo.
“The effects of the Muslim ban continue to be felt,” said Keaney. “Changes made to the way the processing happened [under the Muslim ban] continue to happen.”