Lebanese Couple Granted Permission To Stay In U.S. With Sick Son
NEW YORK (CBS) — Last month, CBS 2 was the first to tell you about a Queens couple being deported and forced to leave their son behind as he battles a deadly disease.
Our story was brought to the attention of immigration officials who delivered good news to the family on Tuesday.
For the last two months, 9-year-old Omar Audi from Astoria, Queens, was terrified he would have to fight his potentially deadly disease alone. His parents, with expired visas, were being deported to their native Lebanon.
“I was scared if my family would go ‘cause I would miss them,” Omar told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.
As CBS 2 reported in December, Omar suffers from a rare condition called hereditary andiodema, which causes painful swelling inside and outside his body.
Omar was granted asylum so he could be treated with medication not available in his home country. Dania and Rawi Audi were faced with the prospect of leaving their son behind.
That is, until Tuesday.
“It’s amazing, like dream.” Dania said.
Last month, City Councilman Peter Vallone reached out to the Department of Homeland Security on the Audi’s behalf.
“I was amazed today when I heard from the head of immigration here in New York saying that he took a look at the file as soon as it hit his desk and he realized that it was wrong to tear apart a family,” Vallone said.
Immigration officials granted the Audis a two-year extension, allowing them to stay in the states with their three sons.
“Now they can stay here with me and I can stay with them and I can be happy,” Omar said.
“You Hazel, you the one. You the one that helped me. God bless you and your family. God bless everyone who helped me,” Dania told Sanchez.
“I’m so happy now. Because Omar happy … I’m happy,” Rawi said.
Their once fearful faces have now been replaced by a smiling family filled with hope.
“He will live. He will not die,” Dania said.
And they pray one day Omar will be cured.
The Audis’ case will be reviewed in two years. They could receive another extension if Omar’s medication is still not available in Lebanon.