US denies visa to Vietnamese donor whose dying sister needs stem cell transplant

By Minh Nga   September 21, 2017 | 05:06 pm GMT+7

Time is running out but US immigration is refusing to budge, saying there is a risk the woman would outstay her visa.

A Vietnamese American woman is on the verge of dying of cancer in the U.S., but the government there is refusing to grant a visa to her sister in Vietnam, the only person who can save her life through a stem cell transplant.

In a hospital in California, Helen Huynh is struggling to fight acute myeloid leukemia, a disease she was diagnosed with in February.

The only hope of saving the 60-year-old woman is through a stem cell transplant, according to the family's Go Fund Me page set up to help with legal and medical bills.

The procedure requires a genetic match to Helen, and her youngest sibling, Thuy, is a rare 100 percent match.

Thuy has repeatedly applied for a visa in Ho Chi Minh City to go to the U.S. for the medical procedure, but she has been denied each time.

In a refusal letter, the consulate stated that Thuy had failed to offer the necessary evidence that she would leave America once her visa had expired, The Washington Post reported.

As one last effort, Helen's family has hired an immigration lawyer to file for humanitarian parole for emergency entry into the country.

Helen's Daughter, Yvonne Ai Van Murray, told The Post as of Monday that the U.S. government was still considering the application.

This is not the first time U.S. visa controversy has grabbed headlines in Vietnam.

In August, U.S. immigration officers reversed their initial decision not to grant Nguyen Thi Hoa a visa to visit her dying daughter in San Jose. The decision was reversed after the family started a petition online calling on the consulate and President Donald Trump to issue Hoa a visa, which was initially denied for fear she would stay in the U.S. for good.

In May, Pham Huy, a high school student from the central province of Quang Tri, almost missed his chance to attend an international science fair in California after his visa application was rejected twice, even after special requests from the province’s foreign affairs department and Vietnam’s education ministry. The denials were reportedly due to personal reasons.

The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi only contacted him for a special interview after various local media outlets covered the issue.

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