Afghan family detained in Los Angeles are asking for release

Afghan family detained in Los Angeles are asking for release

A family of five from Afghanistan, detained by immigration officials in Los Angeles for unknown reasons since last Thursday, was released and reunited shortly before a court hearing on Monday. Attorneys for the family filed numerous petitions demanding their release since they said the family had been granted the special visas after the father worked for the US military in Afghanistan. International Refugee Assistance Project argued the family was eligible to stay in the US because the father had been employed by the USA government in Afghanistan and they were approved for relocation after extreme vetting.

According to the LA Times, the father worked for the US government in Afghanistan, and the entire family went through several years of vetting before earning immigration visas.

Over the weekend, Staton issued a temporary order blocking USA authorities from removing the family from California and setting Monday's hearing in their case. On Monday, four days after they were detained at the airport, a federal judge ordered the family freed from custody.

Officials with the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection on Monday agreed under legal pressure to release the family without charge, but provided no justification for the family's detention.

The Special Immigrant Visas, created by Congress for citizens from Afghanistan and Iraq, may be allowed in other occupations, which generally place their lives in danger in those states as well as to to those who've helped the USA military as drivers, interpreters.

"These are the type of folks we should be laying out the welcome mat for", said Talia Inlender, a senior staff attorney at Public Counsel, the non-profit organization fighting for the family's release.

"There has been a lot of confusion", said Inlender.

After being detained at LAX for two days, the father was taken to a detention center in Orange County and the mother and three children were taken to a similar facility in downtown Los Angeles. In addition to being detained, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has prevented attorneys from communicating with the family, according to the petition.

U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton, who is hearing the case in Santa Ana, issued the temporary restraining order over the weekend. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency had no comment, other than to say it will comply with the judge's order. "It's really quite hard to understand what the justification might be to detain an 8-month-old baby, his two older brothers, ages 7 and 6, and his parents".

Then, at a brief meeting with the mother, attorneys learned that she and her children were going to be transported to a family detention center in Texas, Inlender said.

The family's names have not been release. "The balance of equities tip in their favor and the injunction is in the public interest", read the order.

The case follows President Donald Trump's executive order barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. Afghanistan was not one of those countries.