April 6, 2020

Alhamdulillah, Sr. Khadija Ismail is home!

CAIR-LA Civil Rights Department has been working with federal agencies and lawmakers to make sure Americans stranded abroad due to nations closing their borders due to health concerns regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic are accounted for and can return as soon as possible.

Khadija, an emergency medicine resident physician, is one of the success stories.

She was in Peru when the government closed its borders in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“When I learned that the border was going to close at 5 a.m. on March 16 and I had until midnight to get out of the country, I was actually at the base of Machu Picchu in the small town of Aguas Calientes,” Khadija said.

She took a train, then a car to Cusco, where she had a five-hour wait at the airport as a stand-by passenger.

“I was the last person on the last flight out from Cusco to Lima,” Khadija said. “I missed my flight back to the U.S. by 10 minutes because it left early.”

Khadija contacted CAIR-LA and our Civil Rights Department went to work to get her home. Our attorneys reached out to the office of Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43), Khadija’s Congressional representative, for assistance.

Rep. Waters’ office was very responsive and remained in continuous communication with our office. Her office provided assurance that the U.S. State Department would charter repatriation flights between the United States and Peru.

After being stranded in Peru for 12 days, Khadija’s turn to return home finally came. She was able to take a U.S. Embassy repatriation flight back to the US on March 28 and returned to Los Angeles on March 29.

“She made it back home and today, she’s bravely back at work at a hospital,” said CAIR-LA Civil Rights Managing Attorney Amr Shabaik.

While our physical office space has closed due to the public health concerns regarding COVID-19, we continue to assist clients with their legal issues.

For more guidance about traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic, click HERE

For information about what to do if you’re stranded abroad during this crisis, click HERE.

Community members should report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-LA’s Civil Rights Department at 714-776-1177 or by filing a report at:  https://bit.ly/2L9Ezsw.