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Continued: Somali woman living in Willmar can't get her husband into U.S.

  • Article by: RANDY FURST , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 20, 2014 - 3:44 AM

“This process can often be confusing and frustrating and we will continue to help people navigate the immigration system,” Klobuchar said.

“The embassy has these applicants going around in circles,” said Marit Karbowski, the attorney for Hassan Bashir and Deka Mohamed, the ­couple who brought the recent lawsuit. “One day the embassy will say they have all the documents they need to process the application, and the next day they will ask the client to bring in even more documents ­supporting their identity.”

Awnur came to Minnesota in 2005 with her mother, three brothers and one sister. Two sisters were killed in the civil war.

She works as a meat cutter on the production line of a Jennie-O Turkey Store processing plant, and sends her husband money to help pay his $200-a-month rent in Nairobi. She became a U.S. citizen in 2011.

In 2008, she said, she flew to Kenya and married Hassan Noor, 31, whom she’d met in Kenya in 2002. She returned to Minnesota and applied for a visa for him in January 2009. Her application was approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in March 2010.

But that was only the ­beginning. Noor was interviewed at the Nairobi embassy in November 2011, and since then has repeatedly been told to return with more documentation. Each time he is told it is not enough, she said.

“Every time they ask him for proof. He gives it to them … He doesn’t understand why they keep asking for more.”

Hassan retained attorney Abdulahi and refiled her visa application for Noor in June 2012. She flew to Kenya where she and her husband were interviewed at the embassy last May. Officials asked for proof of her income and asked him to bring a report from the Kenya police, proving he’d committed no crimes in Kenya.

After they provided that information they were asked for more documents.

“I told them I was sick and had spent a lot of time and money bringing my husband over and even after that they still said no.” She said she gave the embassy pictures of their wedding and a marriage certificate. “They said it wasn’t enough proof of his identity.”

On Dec. 27, the embassy called Hassan to say his medical examination had expired and he had to have another one, she said. “After he passed that examination, they said he still needed more identification.”

The exam cost $500, fingerprinting and police reports cost $300.

Awnur said her husband “is very confused about what’s happening.”

The State Department spokeswoman wrote the Star Tribune that the department “is continuously working to refine our visa application procedures. Newly implemented technologies are reducing the time required for certain types of administrative processing.”


Randy Furst • 612-673-4224


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  • At her apartment in Willmar, Amina Awnur is distraught and says she prays that God will help her. A Somali who is now a U.S. citizen and works in a turkey plant. She married her husband in 2008 but despite repeated applications by her husband for a visa, he can’t get into the United States. His case is one of up to 1,000 local families whose visas are stalled by the U.S. state department, according to local immigration lawyers.]

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