A Kenyan family has decried the decision by the US Embassy in Nairobi to reject their applications for visas.
Six members of the family were seeking to travel to the US to attend the burial of their kin, Jane Wambui Muguku, who passed away on December 30th, 2020, after a long illness.
The Standard reports that she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of blood cancer, in 2018.
Jane, a Kenyan-American, moved to the US in 2001 and settled in Seattle, Washington before she was joined by her husband, John Muguku the following year.
Jane’s four children, Martin, Maina, Charles, and Irene, their aunt, and sister-in-law had planned to travel to the US to pay their last respects.
They applied for visas and paid the Sh17,600 non-refundable fee each but their applications were all rejected, with the embassy noting that they failed to provide proof that they would return after traveling to the US.
"You have not demonstrated that you have the ties that will compel you to return to your home country after your travel to the United States. Today's decision cannot be appealed. However, you may feel free to reapply at any time.”
"If you decide to reapply, you must submit a new application form and photo, pay the visa application fee again, and make a new appointment to be interviewed by a consular officer," a letter from the embassy read.
The applicants had presented a letter addressed to the embassy by the director of the funeral home where the remains of Jane are being preserved, and another by the Congress representative for Seattle, Derek Kilmer.
"We are feeling the pain because we are not going for pleasure, we are going to lay our mother to rest. We are in business, so we don't have reason to stay in the US. We just wanted a two-week visa to bury our mother and come back because we have not seen her for the last 19 years. None of us wanted to go settle there," Maina stated.
Martin said: "They didn't ask for any document. They just interviewed us. They asked who would pay for my ticket, what I do for a living and the reason for travel, the cost of the ticket and whether we have relatives in the US. Those were the common questions."
The family says they will be forced to attend the burial virtually. Jane is set to be laid to rest on January 29th.