Posted on March 24, 2011
Two Kenyan children getting treatment for rare diseases in Portland may be forced to go home under federal immigration laws.
Friends of the Khandwalla family publicized the family’s plight at Pioneer Courthouse Square downtown Thursday.
They’re hoping the U.S. government will change its decision.
The family has been in Portland for eight years, getting two of their boys treatment for a rare disease that stunts their growth and distorts their spines and joints. Shriners Hospital has funded the kids’ on-going surgeries and wants to continue doing so until they turn 21.
But U.S. Customs and Immigration sent the Khandwalla’s a letter recently saying the family needs to leave the country by the end of the month.
The letter says the decision “may not be appealed.”
Aamir Khandwalla fears a return to Kenya where there’s no treatment available and people are less tolerant of his condition.
“Life was very tough for me. I used to get bullied around” in Kenya, he said. “I wasn’t treated right.”
The family says it may have to risk eventual deportation because the sons have medical appointments and they have nowhere else to go for help.