Desperation grows for Afghans awaiting long-delayed visas

Red tape ensnares Afghans desperate to escape Taliban


DURHAM, N.C. – An Afghan refugee Friday said she’s gotten plenty of sympathy but very little progress in her effort to get her husband’s reunification visa approved.

 

What You Need To Know

Fatema Mohammadi’s husband filed for an I-730 family reunification visa three years ago, but he is still unable to leave Afghanistan

Mohammadi has contacted members of Congress to try to speed up the process

USCIS says it is processing cases as fast as it can

President Joe Biden still says U.S. evacuation flights will end on Tuesday

 

For the past few weeks, Fatema Mohammadi has been writing to members of Congress and protesting outside a Durham church in an effort to get her husband, Saboor’s, I-730 family reunification visa approved. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said I-730s should not take more than 28 months to approve, but her husband’s case has now been pending for three years with no resolution. In an email message obtained by Spectrum News 1, USCIS officials told Sen. Thom Tillis’ office they are prioritizing the case but it still has pending security checks.

Speaking at her Durham home Friday morning, Mohammadi began to cry as she described the toll the process has taken on her and her family. She said Saboor has told her Taliban fighters have been going door to door searching for anyone they think poses a threat to their regime. Spectrum News 1 is only identifying her husband as Saboor to protect him.

“Every day that this goes, I feel more hopeless than yesterday and I cannot believe that it is reality,” she said.

In a previous interview, Saboor said he was not eligible for the State Department’s Special Immigrant Visa program because he never worked with American troops, media organizations or nonprofits. Mohammadi said she has contacted a number of international refugee aid organizations. All of them have told her because her husband has a pending U.S. immigration visa case, the matter is under U.S. government jurisdiction and there’s nothing they can do to help.

Mohammadi said she felt as though the United States was ignoring the needs of Afghans like her and Saboor because they are not U.S. citizens.

“I think that, because I am from Afghanistan, my life is not worth it,” she said. “If I was a citizen of America, the United States would do something, but my life is not worthy because of the blood in my veins.”

During remarks following Thursday’s deadly attack at the Kabul airport, President Joe Biden said the U.S. remains committed to the Tuesday deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan.



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