Mother works to bring daughters to U.S.

December 11, 2018

Fatuma* is a lawful permanent U.S. resident from Somalia. Days before she gave birth to her second daughter in Somalia, Fatuma’s husband and father were murdered by a group of armed men. Eventually, the same men began threatening Fatuma. In 2010, they forced Fatuma to flee for her life. She went to a refugee camp in South Africa, separated from her daughters back in Somalia.

Fatuma spoke with her daughters on the phone regularly until she lost all contact with them in 2011. She feared for the worst and imagined that the men who had been after her had found her daughters and killed them. She searched desperately but could not find them anywhere.

Finally, in 2015, after searching for nearly four years and being resettled in the United States, Fatuma discovered that her children were alive and living in Dadaab Refugee Camp. Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston immediately filed family reunification petitions to bring Fatuma’s daughters to the United States.

As happy as Fatuma was to find them, it has been agonizing to be separated from them for the past two years as they wait to complete the processing for the girls, now ages 11 and 12, to come to the United States.

As of March 2017, Fatuma’s daughters have been through multiple interviews and received their medical and security clearances. Now they are awaiting their travel documents, but they face another significant hurdle: the travel ban, which would delay their admission for at least four months, and likely longer.

When Fatuma heard about the travel ban, she was devastated. Believing her daughters were close to arriving, Fatuma had already rented a new home with two bedrooms so that her girls would have their own bedroom. She has already set up their room, purchased beds, and filled their closets with clothes. Catholic Charities has requested expedited processing and is making every effort to procure travel documents for Fatuma’s young daughters before the travel ban takes effect.

[*Name changed to protect privacy.]

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