Long line outside of Rep. Swalwell's office to rescue family members in Afghanistan

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ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Long line at Rep. Swalwell's office for Afghanistan visas
Dozens of people lined up outside of Representative Eric Swalwell's Castro Valley office looking for help to get their family members out of Afghanistan.

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- US Representative Eric Swalwell set up a help desk outside his Castro Valley office this week with members of his staff offering to answer questions about how to get family members out of Afghanistan and here to the United States.

Hogay Haidary got in line at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, three hours before the desk opened.

She says she has not heard from her parents or brother because the internet is down where they live.

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"Since these three days, I haven't slept. I haven't eaten. I have been crying. We lost our country. But at least we can take our family," Haidary said.

Sayed Hashimi drove from Sacramento to try and get his questions answered. His parents, brother and nephews are in Afghanistan. His brother worked as an engineer for the U.S. government.

"I have a lot of concern for my family. They work for U.S. forces and their lives are in danger."

He has been able to talk to them and says they are very afraid.

"They can't go to school. They can't go out. It is very hard for them. That's why I came here to see if there is any way we can rescue my family," said Hashimi.

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Swalwell's office says they can only check the status of a special immigrant visa or help start the process to get one. The information can be found online, but a long line of people showed up to ask the questions and get the information.

Just getting the paperwork gave Hashimi some hope.

"I hope the U.S. Embassy will help us to bring them here so they can have a good life and live safe," he said before getting in his car to drive back to Sacramento and fill out the forms.

Haidary has already filed for an SIV. She is hoping bureaucracy won't get in the way of bringing her family to the US.

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"It's in progress, it's under review. We are waiting for approval. But it will be too late to wait for approval. I want them out of there as soon as possible," she said after meeting with members of Swalwell's staff.

Even though Swalwell's office told her the paperwork was being processed, she said coming to the Castro Valley office did make her feel a bit better.

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