Afghan family detained in Los Angeles are asking for release
- Author: Rogelio Becker Mar 08, 2017,
Mar 08, 2017, 0:17
US agents detained an Afghan family of five with valid entry visas at Los Angeles International Airport and have been holding them for several days in California, according to legal papers filed in federal court in California by human rights lawyers.
"Despite repeated requests, the CBP has supplied no information regarding why the family was detained, if they are questioned, and whether any motive at all exists to warrant their continued detention", the request said. For now, the family will be allowed to continue their trip to Seattle, where they plan to relocate.
Details about what led to the decision were not immediately available. But the government argued special immigration visas allow the family to enter but that the visas don't mean the family members can stay.
In addition to detaining the family, Customs and Border Protection prevented attorneys from communicating with them, lawyers said in court filings.
The family has been in custody since.
Blume said the family was freed after the court hearing in Santa Ana before federal Judge Josephine L. Staton. The family arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday and have been in detention ever since.
The family's details and names were not released because the lawmaker's were not granted permission to make them public due to security reasons.
Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, declined to discuss the type of work the father did for the USA government but said he spent years working on United States military bases.
They had Special Immigrant Visas, which were granted for life-risking work done for the United States military.
The U.S. Customs & Border Protection department declined to comment. "CBP officers treat all travelers arriving in the country with professionalism, dignity and respect".
The father worked for the USA government in Afghanistan. His wife, Heller said, is illiterate and speaks no English.
Talia Inlender, senior staff attorney for Public Counsel, said immigration authorities had agreed to release the family from custody. She said the father was held at a detention center in Orange, California, while the mother and three children were held in downtown Los Angeles.
The petition did not state the exact nature of the father's employment with the USA government in Afghanistan.
Soon after the incident, US district judge Josephine Staton issued a temporary restraining order restricting the government from removing the family from California. Their three children include an infant, a seven-year-old and an eight-year-old. "The balance of equities tip in their favor and the injunction is in the public interest", read the order.
The family was released on parole, meaning that they are still vulnerable to sudden deportation.
Attorney Rob Blume says the father worked different jobs for the USA military in Afghanistan for more than a decade and was assaulted and shot during his time there.
"We're pleased with the response", he said.
Although it's unclear why the family has been detained, the temporary restraining order against President Donald Trump's travel ban is still in effect.
Trump's administration issued a revamped order on Monday.