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Afghan family returns to San Diego as thousands still seek refuge

Posted at 11:21 PM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-04 02:21:34-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — One man from Afghanistan did the unthinkable to bring his family back to San Diego all while thousands are still overseas trying to seek refuge in the United States.

The man is named Prince Wafa.

Wafa is from Herat and served the United States military as a translator from 2011 to 2014. He came to San Diego as an SIV and became a US citizen in 2019.

However, this journey of his started with his wife, who was still in Afghanistan applying for her Visa.

Wafa wanted to bring his wife home. He made multiple calls to various government entities and met roadblocks. He said he was fearing for his wife's safety and not making any progress.

“Taliban is getting close," he said. "Getting half of Afghanistan not into Kabul yet, I can see the problems are not normal and I am trying to do anything not to go to Afghanistan and give her a way out.”

Wafa left for Afghanistan this July in search of his wife. The pair reunited and witnessed the Taliban take over. They also saw multiple flights leave without them on board.

“They said all those overseas are in safety, mission accomplished and I am like what do you mean, I still have my passport in my hand, in the center of Kabul," he shared.

Months pass, and they finally received assistance from Congressman Darrell Issa. On Oct. 22, the pair landed in Qatar. Forty days later, Wafa's wife was granted a visa. On Dec. 1, they landed on US soil.

“Definitely relieved," said Wafa. "But not relaxed yet, because we have so many more people in Afghanistan.”

Congressman Issa said Wafa is just the beginning of the second wave of Afghan refugees that will hopefully find solace in San Diego.

“It’s going to be smaller than people think," Congressman Issa explained. "The vast majority In fact 20 to 30 thousand Afghans that did not help us who are not specific to the war effort were brought over to the United States. So that amount is probably much greater than the amount left behind.

"We are probably looking at several thousand more still in Afghanistan and there are still hundreds of American citizens and if you add their families, probably a thousand.”

Issa along with other local organizations said they have been met with challenges at the federal level.

“Congress just passed $7 billion basically just to resettle people who have come from this region, but it was done in a rush so there is no actual guidance on how it is going to be spent, who is going to be entitled, and what we are going to do," he stated.

Wafa said that the biggest concern right now is making sure that those who want refuge in the US receive it soon.

“I don’t say I can do a lot, but I can speak on their behalf, I can raise my voice as much as I can," Wafa said. "I know as a country we can do a lot better and we still have the ability to do a lot better. If we understand what the priority is.”

“We have got to get this right for these people," said Issa. "For the ones that deserve to come here.”

Wafa said that he personally knows many American citizens or people in the same predicament that have a spouse or family overseas that are still waiting for visas or some sort of action.

Congressman Issa said he believes applications for visas should be acted on much quicker. He added that no one should have their life on hold.