(SANTA CLARA, CA, 8/13/2020) –Today at 8:30pm, Raghad Saleh, a 10-year-old Yemeni girl, will arrive at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) after being stranded in Egypt for over a month without her family due to Trump’s various travel bans, including the Muslim Ban and COVID related visa services suspension.
The family had been trying to leave their home country of Yemen, because of the ongoing war, and were waiting in Egypt until AboBakr Saleh, their father, was settled in San Francisco. The family’s visas were issued in March with the exception of Raghad’s. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo told the family the mix-up would be fixed, but by then, Trump issued a suspension of visa services and later banned the issuance of immigrant visas to the United States.
Raghad’s mothers and siblings’ visas were set to expire on in early July, and so they were forced to leave Raghad behind with their neighbors. For more than a month now, Raghad had been alone in Egypt, without her family or any relatives. It was only after an intervention by the Yemeni American Association, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA), and media coverage, that the Embassy finally issued Raghad a visa.
Amir Naim, Immigrants’ Rights Attorney at CAIR-SFBA said in a statement:
“While we are happy that Raghad has finally been reunited with her family, unfortunately, there are countless other families that remain separated because of irrational anti-immigrant policies that have been arbitrarily enacted by the Trump administration. It is unconscionable that a 10-year-old girl, fleeing war, should have to go through this. As with their other immigration policies, the Trump administration issued these most recent executive orders without taking into account the family separation they would cause.”
Abobakr Saleh, Raghad’s father said in a statement:
“Praise be to God, Raghad arrived after a difficult separation, and our family was reunited again, as it was one of the most difficult days we went through, from pain, sadness, and oppression- to the separation of Raghad in Cairo alone. The smile returned to the family again, and Raghad returned to our arms. Thanks to all, thanks to those who stood with us and stood beside us and on the top of them was, Mohamed Albadani, the Vice President of the Yemeni American Association who devoted his time, effort, and work to follow up on the case, as well as CAIR-SFBA’s Amir Naim, who worked all his efforts with our case, and we do not forget to thank the media who brought our case and supported us. Thanks to those who stood with us, our joy is indescribable. Thank you.”
Mohamed Albadani, Vice President of the Yemeni American Association said in a statement:
“We are so happy that Raghad will finally reunite with her family after waiting for six months to receive her visa. Sadly, a 10-year-old girl has lived for a month and a half alone in Egypt far away from her family. This case is only one of many, as there are many stranded Yemeni families still suffering the tragedy of racist and random decisions from Trump. We are working hard to help them as much as we can and are thankful for all of the support we have received for Raghad case.”
Karen Tumlin, Founder and Director of the Justice Action Center (co-counsel in a lawsuit against the Trump administration to stop the immigration ban) said in a statement:
“We are thrilled that this family is no longer separated due to the President’s cruel immigration ban. No child or parent should have to endure what this family has suffered. That is why we will continue fighting in court against the administration’s senseless immigration ban to ensure that families are not unnecessarily separated and traumatized.”
CAIR-SFBA is an office of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.
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CONTACT: CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo, 626.252.0885, email@example.com; Communications Coordinator Zoha Raza, 408.418.6902, firstname.lastname@example.org;