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Boise refugee family pleads government to allow sick granddaughter travel to U.S.

Posted at 10:34 PM, Feb 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 10:36:49-05

Using Skype is the only way Boise refugee Holda Sadeq can speak to her granddaughter Maryam Hani. The six-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia last October and she's now undergoing chemotherapy.

"It's too much, a lot," said Holda speaking through a translator. 

Maryam and her family fled Iraq in 2014 to escape ISIS. Now Maryam's mom is spending her days by her daughter's side.

"I need to take care of my daughter and so I need to be with her in the hospital and my husband needs to take care of other kids and we have a young baby around 10-month-old right now," said Maryam's mother, Lequaa Jasim speaking through a translator.

Lequaa says her family spent all of their money to get to Egypt and now they have the financial burden of Maryam's medical expenses. Holda want's to travel to Egypt to help secure a medical visa for Maryam, but fears she would not be allowed back in the United States because of President Trump's controversial travel ban. While a federal judge blocked the ban on Friday, the Trump Administration is fighting to appeal it.

"He has right to protect the country but there is some circumstance, we are refugees here, we have family overseas they need help," said Holda.

An immigration lawyer in Boise says while President Trump's executive order does have a case by case clause, The law does not recognize grandparents as immediate family.

"When I spoke to this family I kind of knew there wasn't much that could be done," said Jordan Moody of Wilner & O'Reilly. "The only path that they have is sort of getting creative as far as being able to show up at the US border and ask for asylum."

For now, Maryam's family here in Boise is sending money to Egypt to help pay for her care. They are also working with social workers who have reached out to Idaho Senators but so far, they haven't received any news from Washington.

"They still view refugees from those countries as a security threat and so that position hasn't changed," said Drew Lobner a social worker with Inroads in Meridian.

Until then, Holda and her family here in the Gem State are holding on to what little hope they Have left, While Maryam is in a fight for her life.

Lobner is taking donations to help pay for Maryam's medical care. To help, call him at 208-608-6498 or email him at drewinroadsmh@gmail.com