A double-amputee Syrian refugee was denied entry into the United States on Tuesday after landing at LAX and being forced to return to Europe, according to the Council of American-Islamic Relations, who called for his release.
According to CAIR, Morhaf Alkordi, who lost both his legs in 2013, had come to LA for medical treatment after his family reached an agreement with the Hanger Clinic in Downey to treat Alkordi for free.
"He arrived in the United States filled with hope and excitement. Less than 24 hours after his arrival, he was shipped back to Berlin as if he were damaged goods," said Alkordi's uncle, Malek Taweil, in a press release distributed by CAIR.
"Such treatment is unacceptable and not befitting the image and values of our country, especially against a victim of war who has already endured so much pain and suffering," Taweil added.
Alkordi's treatment, which had an estimated cost of anywhere from $24,000 to $90,000, would give him a chance to walk again. He was planning to return to Germany after the treatment, where his wife and daughter live.
"He's lost the ability to pursue his personal goals and dreams and this was that opportunity," said Alkordi's aunt, Marianne Taweil.
The State Department granted Alkordi a B-2 Visa, which was supposed to give him six months to get treated. He was then denied entry by Customs and Border patrol, which cited the Privacy Act when declining to comment on the case.
Alkordi's attorney, Farida Chehata, said authorities cited that he did not want to return to Syria, and that he was unemployed, as reasons for sending him back to Europe.
Chehata and Alkordi's family are now hoping the Department of Homeland Security cooperates with them in reviewing paperwork. Chehata is characterizing their case now as "a last ditch effort," as they attempt to get a humanitarian parole.
"For anybody who is a refugee from a war torn country, it's going to be difficult for him to be able to receive another B-2 visa after he was denied entry and returned back to Germany," Chehata said.