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Somali refugee sues US government for keeping his family apart for over seven years

Wednesday April 12, 2023


The United States District Courthouse federal court building for the District of Minnesota in downtown Minneapolis. © 2018, 2019 Tony Webster /Wiki Commons

Mogadishu (HOL) - Rabi Mohamed, a Somali refugee who has been living in St. Cloud, Minnesota since 2015, filed a lawsuit against the United States government on April 11, 2023, with the assistance of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and Prokosch Law LLC. The lawsuit claims that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS unnecessary requests for evidence to prove the family's relationship have prevented the Mohameds from reuniting.

Mr. Mohamed's family fled civil war and persecution in Somalia when he was a child, eventually settling in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. It was there that he met his wife, Sahra. When his parents' refugee petition for him was approved in 2015, he left for the United States alone, hoping that his family could soon join him. Despite filing for his family to join him shortly after his arrival, his wife and three young children still live in the same refugee camp.

As a refugee, Mr. Mohamed has the right under the Refugee Act to petition for his spouse and children to join him in the United States. However, after responding to multiple requests for additional documentation and seeking assistance from his congressional representative, his family's reunification petitions remain stuck at the first stage of processing.

In March 2023, Mr. Mohamed discovered that USCIS may have temporarily closed his sons' cases because he did not submit DNA evidence, even though DNA testing is optional. He had already submitted the required evidence per Defendants' regulations.

Mr. Mohamed said, "Every year, I say that maybe this is the year I will reunite with my family. Whenever I talk to my youngest child, he always asks, 'When am I going to come to see you?' I have no answer, and that hurts me more."

IRAP Equal Justice Works Fellow Alexandra Zaretsky added, "President Biden declared that family reunification is in the national interest, yet years-long delays continue to keep families apart. It is outrageous that the U.S. government is forcing Mr. Mohamed's children to grow up in a refugee camp without a father and without the benefits of a united family that they deserve."


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