Attorneys confirm an Afghan family headed to Washington state to start a new life was detained at Los Angeles International Airport last week.
A group of attorneys is working to figure out the reason behind the detainment of a family whom they believe have legal visas to enter the country.
According to Caitlin Bellis of Public Counsel, the family of five was detained at the airport on Thursday, immediately after arriving in the U.S. According to Bellis, the family consists of a father, mother, and three children, ages seven, six and eight months.
Bellis said the family was headed to Kennewick where they have a family friend. It’s unclear who this friend is, and Bellis says no one has been able to contact the friend since the family was detained.
Bellis said the family was headed to the Northwest on Special Immigrant Visas (SIV). These visas are granted to those who worked for the U.S. government and have become a terrorist target because of their work. While it’s unclear exactly what the father did for the U.S. government, Bellis said the father had many roles including serving as an interpreter.
“It’s totally ridiculous,” said Bellis, reacting to the family’s detainment.
Attorneys from Public Counsel, Gibson & Dunn, and the International Refugee Assistance Project filed a petitioned on Saturday to release the family. A hearing on the case is set for Monday.
Bellis said she cannot say if the family’s detainment is related to the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration. Afghanistan is not one of seven countries in the original immigration ban.
Initially, Bellis said the family was held at the airport for at least 30 hours. Eventually, the family was separated. Bellis said the father is being held at an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility in Orange County. The mother and three children are being held in downtown Los Angeles at an undisclosed location.