Refugee’s fam­ily stuck in Kenya, so he is su­ing

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - By Danae King

Afkab Mo­hamed Hus­sein’s wife tells him his 2-year-old son is a “smart and naughty” tod­dler, but Hus­sein has never held him in his arms.

The Somali refugee hasn’t been able to play with his son, Ab­dul­lahi Afkab Mo­hamed, and he hasn’t seen his wife, Rhodo Has­san Ab­di­rah­man, in more than two years.

The 29-year-old North Side res­i­dent, who came to the United States from a Kenyan refugee camp in Septem­ber 2015, has joined a law­suit filed Mon­day to fight Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s lat­est travel ban. The order bars the en­try of refugees from 11 coun­tries, nine of which are ma­jor­ity Mus­lim, for at least 90 days.

Be­fore the Oct. 24 ex­ec­u­tive order an­nounc­ing more vet­ting of those en­ter­ing the coun­try, Hus­sein’s wife and son, who are still liv­ing in a Kenyan refugee camp, were ap­proved to join him in the United States. The new order, how­ever, stopped that.

“I came to the United States be­cause I wanted to be able to pro­vide shel­ter and safety for my fam­ily,” Hus­sein, a truck driver, wrote in a dec­la­ra­tion of his case.

Trump sus­pended the Fol­low to Join pro­gram in the ex­ec­u­tive order on the rec­om­men­da­tion of Act­ing Sec­re­tary of Home­land Se­cu­rity Elaine Duke, Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son and Act­ing Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Dan Coats.

Tiller­son, Duke and Coats, in an Oct. 23 memo, said the refugee vet­ting process is “gen­er­ally ad­e­quate” but re­quired a few new con­di­tions.

One of those con­di­tions: “ad­di­tional se­cu­rity mea­sures” be put in place be­fore more fam­ily mem­bers, or “fol­low­ing-to-join” refugees, are al­lowed in the coun­try.

Hus­sein is rep­re­sented by Com­mu­nity Refugee and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices, said Angie Plum­mer, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Colum­bus non­profit ad­vo­cacy group. She has about 50 other clients in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions.

Hus­sein orig­i­nally was told his wife and son would be able to join him within a year of his ar­rival in the coun­try. His fam­ily was ap­proved to join him in June 2016.

The class-ac­tion law­suit, which was filed in fed­eral court in Seat­tle, names the de­fen­dants as Trump, Duke, Tiller­son, Coats and the lat­ter three’s of­fices and asks the court to block the ex­ec­u­tive order.

The plain­tiffs also in­clude two Jewish Fam­ily Ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions; Allen R. Vaught, a vet­eran of the Iraq war who hired an­other plain­tiff, John Doe 1, as a trans­la­tor in 2003 and has been try­ing to help him re­set­tle to the U.S. since 2014; and six more un­named peo­ple. They are be­ing rep­re­sented by the In­ter­na­tional Refugee As­sis­tance Project.

The first thing Hus­sein wants to do if and when his fam­ily can join him is to “throw a big party and get a nice apart­ment,” Hus­sein said through a Somali in­ter­preter in the CRIS of­fice Tues­day.

“Now I am in­def­i­nitely un­able to re­unite with my wife and son,” Hus­sein wrote in the dec­la­ra­tion. “I feel help­less be­cause my re­spon­si­bil­ity is to pro­tect and care for my wife and son, and I can­not do so from so far away.”



Colum­bus res­i­dent Afkab Mo­hamed Hus­sein dis­plays a cell­phone photo of his wife, Rhodo Has­san Ab­di­rah­man, and his son, Ab­dul­lahi Afkab Mo­hamed, who live in a refugee camp in Kenya.

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