Afghan family detained in United States despite visas set for release

Afghan family detained in United States despite visas set for release

Instead, they were detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement "with absolutely no justification whatsoever", according to a federal court petition filed Saturday by the International Refugee Assistance Project seeking the family's release.

A petition by the International Refugee Assistance Project on behalf of the father, mother and three children - ages 7, 6 and 8 months - is asking a federal court to release the family.

They never made their connecting flight because they were detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, Talia Inlender, a staff attorney with the free legal service Public Counsel, told the newspaper.

The couple and their children were granted Special Immigrant Visas in return for work the father performed for the USA government in Afghanistan that put the family's lives at risk, the International Refugee Assistance Project said in its court filing seeking their release. She said the father had been employed by the USA government in Afghanistan and he and his family had received special immigration visas.

ICE officials didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

A group of attorneys is working to figure out the reason behind the detainment of a family whom they believe have legal visas to enter the country.

The case, Inlender said, was reminiscent of many in the aftermath of an executive order issued by the Trump administration in January, which shut down refugee admissions to the United States and put temporary holds on all admission from seven Muslim-majority countries. "These are exactly the types of people that we should be protecting", attorney Daniele Katzir said.

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They had Special Immigrant Visas, which were granted for life-risking work done for the U.S. military.

The mother, according to attorneys, can't read, write or speak English. "This is something we've been seeing a lot since President Trump's executive order".

"It's been quite a dramatic day", Inlender said. "It's really quite hard to understand what the justification might be to detain an 8-month-old baby, his two older brothers, ages 7 and 6, and his parents".

"It shocks the conscience", Inlender told The Times.

A federal court hearing will be held Monday for an Afghan family detained last week at LAX, despite having been issued entry visas because the head of the family had worked for the USA government in Afghanistan.

"The past 24 hours has been reminiscent of those moments; the stonewalling and not being allowed access to clients", she said. The Jan. 27 order, however, did not include Afghanistan. The case arrived just days before President Donald Trump unveiled his new travel ban Monday morning.

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