*DECEMBER 9 UPDATE: If you’re looking for a way to ease the transition for Mohammad’s family, consider gifting an essential item from the Amazon Wish List we’ve set up. Each of these items will go a long way as the family gets settled in their new home. Please share with your family and friends!*
Today has been a day of smiles – and some joyous tears! – at IRAP. We are thrilled to announce that Mohammad ‘FNU’ Usafi, the Afghan interpreter who was interviewed several weeks ago on HBO’s Last Week Tonight, has finally been reunited with his family. His mother and seven brothers and sisters safely touched down this afternoon in San Francisco after spending many months in hiding in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Lara Finkbeiner, IRAP’s Deputy Legal Director, was the supervising attorney on the case, which was filed in August of this year. The work of IRAP’s legal team was critical in winning humanitarian parole for the family. We are immensely proud of the efforts contributed by Marine Captain Adrian Kinsella, who is a third-year law student at Berkeley Law and worked with Mohammad in Afghanistan, and the other members of IRAP’s UC Berkeley chapter who worked on the case. “Winning humanitarian parole for eight people is, to our knowledge, unprecedented,” said Finkbeiner. “It’s an extremely rare form of relief; when granted, it’s almost exclusively for single individuals. We were overjoyed at the outcome. Mohammad risked his life in order to support the United States and as a result, the Taliban targeted his family. Bringing them to safety is the very least we could do.”
This victory demonstrates what can be achieved when the plight of America’s allies in Afghanistan and Iraq becomes a national conversation. Even as he celebrated the arrival of his own family, Mohammad acknowledged those who remain in peril: “in order to save more lives like those of my family, Congress must extend and expand the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Programs for Afghan and Iraqi translators. Congress must ensure that visas are processed with a high priority and available to both Afghan and Iraqi translators and their families.”
We’re sending a warm welcome to Mohammad’s family, and hope that this achievement will help galvanize even stronger advocacy on behalf of those still in danger.
NBC News documented the family’s arrival in San Francisco earlier today. You can learn more, and view photos and video footage, on the NBC News website. Please share this fantastic news with your networks!