February 11, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 11, 2020

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President Trump’s refugee ban separated Afkab from his wife and young son for over four years 

Washington, D.C. – In response to news that under a historic settlement in the Jewish Family Service v. Trump lawsuit, the administration must expedite the resettlement applications of over 300 refugees who had been impacted by President Trump’s October 2017 refugee ban, Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service released the following statement:


“Today, one of the many incomprehensible wrongs perpetrated by this administration has begun to be righted. We are overjoyed to hear that  Afkab Hussein’s four-year separation from his wife and young son will come to an end. Today’s decision is the result of the tireless work of IRAP, HIAS, Jewish Family Services, and individual plaintiffs, including Afkab and the many refugees who have been impacted by these bans.


“Afkab should have never had to sue the federal government just to be reunited with his wife and then-infant son, who had already been approved for resettlement. And yet, he is unfortunately not alone–thousands of families lives have been torn apart by President Trump’s racist and xenophobic policies that continue today.


“We are thankful to our partners at Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) and the community of Columbus for advocating alongside Afkab throughout this struggle. CWS is currently working to ensure that every refugee who should have been admitted but was not due to this ban can finally find safety in the United States. We continue to pray for every family separated by this administration’s cruel policies and fight to ensure they too will one day be reunited in safety.”


In 2015, Afkab Hussein finally found a permanent, safe home in Ohio after spending twenty-five years in a refugee camp in Kenya. He applied for his pregnant wife Rhodo to join him as soon as he could, found a job, and started planning for her arrival and their budding family. Rhodo and their infant son Abdullahi were initially approved but President Trump’s first and second Muslim ban, both of which ground the refugee resettlement program to a halt, turned Afkab’s dream into a nightmare. What should have been the happy story of a family rebuilding together in a new land became a painful journey for justice. Because of the administration’s many bans, Afkab was only able to meet his now four-year-old son this past summer when he flew to Kenya. Before that, they had only seen each other on a phone screen. But the road ahead is still long. It is now incumbent on Congress, the media, and the public to hold the administration accountable to processing Rhodo and Abdullahi’s case as soon as possible.


Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about our work and join our global homebase for refugee solidarity at