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IRAP Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Separated Somali Refugee Family

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

March 16, 2022


Spencer Tilger


The family’s reunification has faced extended delays as a result of the Muslim refugee ban

(New York, NY) – Today, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Afkab Hussein, a Somali refugee who has been separated from his wife and their two children for 6 years. The family’s reunification was first prevented by former President Trump’s Muslim and refugee ban, but despite a change in administration and a successful previous lawsuit, the family’s hopes to be reunified continue to be indefinitely delayed. 

Afkab fled Somalia as a child and grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya, where he met his wife, Rhodo. He resettled to the U.S. in 2015 and now works as a truck driver near Columbus, Ohio. His family was approved to join him before their case was blocked by the Muslim refugee ban in 2017. The family was again approved to travel to the U.S. in January 2022, but had their travel canceled the day before they were scheduled to leave. This is just the latest example of the endemic delays facing the family, many of which stem from changes made under the Trump administration that continue to primarily affect refugee families from Muslim-majority countries.

Afkab is a plaintiff in JFS v. Trump, IRAP’s previous lawsuit challenging the October 2017 iteration of the Muslim ban. In February 2022, IRAP released JFS settlement data showing that most refugees affected by the ban who were previously approved to resettle in the United States are still in limbo and have either had their cases denied or are still waiting for approval.

IRAP Senior Litigation Staff Attorney, Melissa Keaney, said:

“It is simply unconscionable what has happened to Afkab and his family. For years, they have been waiting to be reunified and have been approved for travel multiple times, only to have their hopes dashed because of Trump’s Muslim refugee ban and its continued effects. Under a previous settlement, the government is obligated to prioritize this case, but instead has subjected this family to endless delays and roadblocks.”

Additional Resources

Read the filing: HERE

Read the JFS settlement data: HERE

Read more about Afkab’s story: HERE

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) develops and enforces a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders.