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9.25.2017

She could save her sister's life. But the U.S. won't let her into the country.

Helen Huynh best hope for survival is a stem cell transplant from her sister in Vietnam.



Helen Huynh will die without a stem cell transplant. A donor could save her life, and there is hope: her sister in Vietnam is a perfect match. But the U.S. Consulate there has refused to give her a temporary visa.

A cancer patient desperately needs a stem-cell transplant. But the U.S. won't grant the donor a visa.

Huynh, 61, is suffering from acute myeloid leukemia. Her best hope for survival is stem cell transplant from her sister, Thuy Nguyen, who lives in a Vietnam and is a rare 100 percent match.

But Nguyen's visa application has now been denied four times.


Doctors have written letters urging the U.S. Consulate to grant Nguyen an emergency medical visa, stressing the urgency and timing of the procedure. This is a clear matter of life of death.

"This patient will benefit from a life-saving procedure utilizing stem cells," a physician from the University of California at Irvine Medical Center wrote in a letter. "For humanitarian reasons, we are requesting the patient's sister... be granted a Temporary Visa to enter the United States so that she can assist in donating her stem cells to save our patient's life."

"To save our patient's life" is apparently not a good enough reason to be allowed entry into the U.S. The government is clearly more worried about what happens after that. Nguyen's application has been repeatedly denied out of concern that she will overextend her visa.

"Regrettably, Ms. Nguyen was unable to establish to the satisfaction of the interviewing officer that her employment, financial and family situation in Vietnam constituted sufficient ties to compel her to depart the United States," the rejection letter stated. Basically: BUT WILL YOU LEAVE?



Huynh's family has hired an immigration attorney to file for humanitarian parole, a petition for emergency entry into the country. They've also made appeals to politicians and turned to the media to bring attention to their plight. As of last week, the government was still considering the application.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice has started an online petition urging U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant the pending humanitarian parole application to Thuy Nguyen.


September 21, 2017

James McCament
Acting Director
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Washington, D.C

Re: Humanitarian parole for Ms. Thuy Nguyen from Vietnam

Dear Mr. McCament,

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, write to strongly urge U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to grant the pending humanitarian parole application for Ms. Thuy Nguyen from Vietnam. As organizations that are dedicated to providing legal, health care, social, and other critical assistance to those in need, we are extremely alarmed that the life of an American citizen and former refugee hangs in the balance because of multiple delays in the granting of legal permission for a stem cell donor to enter the United States.

Earlier this year, Ms. Helen Huynh, who lives in Southern California, was diagnosed unexpectedly with acute myeloid leukemia. She requires a stem cell transplant, from as close a genetic match as possible. While a minimum 70 percent match is required to proceed with a transplant, Helen’s sister in Vietnam, Thuy, turned out to be a rare 100 percent match for Helen. Thuy’s perfect match for Helen is also remarkable in that rate of matches for Asian patients (72 percent) is significantly lower than for white patients (80 to 90 percent). Despite this hopeful turn of events for Helen, in the many months since the diagnosis, Thuy tragically has been unable to secure legal permission to enter the United States to provide life-saving medical assistance to her sister and Helen’s condition has deteriorated.

We urge USCIS to expedite the decision on this case and to grant permission for Ms. Thuy Nguyen to enter the United States immediately. Time is of the essence -- a life hangs in the balance unnecessarily and USCIS has an opportunity to rectify this injustice.

Sincerely,

Sign on here.

Time is running out. Meanwhile, to help with both the mounting legal and medical bills, Helen Huynh's family has started a GoFundMe fundraiser for donations. Your support appreciated.