Afghan family with visas held in California, attorneys are asking why

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- As President Donald Trump prepares a new executive order on immigration, a family of five from Afghanistan sits in two Southern California detention centers waiting to learn why they’re being detained.

The father, mother and three young children -- ages 6, 7 and 8 months -- arrived at Los Angeles International Airport last Thursday and were immediately detained. They had planned on boarding a connecting flight to Seattle to start a new life in the United States.

According to attorneys fighting on the family’s behalf, all five were holding special immigration visas or SIVs, which are set aside for individuals who have worked for the U.S government in Afghanistan or Iraq and could be harmed in their home country because of their service for the U.S. government.

The father, known in court documents as John Doe, worked for the U.S. government in Afghanistan and the entire family was extensively vetted, their attorneys said.

“These are the type of folks we should be laying out the welcome mat for,” said Talia Inlender, a senior staff attorney at Public Counsel, the non-profit organization fighting for the family’s release.

“With this type of visa there’s a really intense vetting and screening process before an individual sets foot in the United States,” she added.

Afghanistan was not included in Trump’s first immigration executive order and it’s not expected to be included in the new order.

Inlender told ABC News that the family was held for almost two days without any communication and without access to attorneys after arriving at LAX. Then, the family was separated. She said the father is at a detention center in Orange, California, while the mother and three children are being held in downtown Los Angeles.

On Saturday, the International Refugee Project filed a petition in federal court and attorneys were then allowed to meet with the family. Inlender said that’s when they learned the mother and children were possibly going to be moved to a detention center in Texas.

A request for an emergency restraining order was then filed and immediately approved by a federal judge to keep the family in southern California.

The family, while originally detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is now in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE is refusing to comment on the case but told ABC News it will comply with the temporary restraining order and “all other legal requirements.”

Attorneys representing the family say they have no idea why the government is holding the family and under what justification. ICE has not had to argue for the detention in court yet.

The mother, according to attorneys, can’t read, write or speak English. The attorneys said the family is traumatized and confused because they had the necessary visas to enter the U.S.

“We’re trying to learn the basis for this detention,” said Inlender. “It’s really quite difficult to understand what the justification might be to detain an 8-month-old baby, his two older brothers, ages 7 and 6, and his parents.”

The attorneys said the family should not be separated or detained and are hoping the federal court will order their release.

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Passenger who forced Honolulu emergency landing tells FBI ‘we all have’ terroristic thoughts

Passenger who forced Honolulu emergency landing tells FBI 'we all have' terroristic thoughtsiStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -- The Turkish national who forced the emergency landing of American Airlines flight 31 in Honolulu on Friday allegedly told FBI agents "we all have" terroristic ideas, and pantomimed shooting an agent during his interview, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hawaii on Monday.

En route from Los Angeles to Honolulu, 25-year-old Anil Uskanli alarmed passengers and crewmembers while acting "strange," forcing the pilot lock down the flight deck and prompting the U.S. Pacific Command to send two F-22 fighter jets to escort the aircraft into Hawaii.

F22's taking off from Honolulu to escort American Airlines flight 31 #Hawaii

— Anthony Quintano 🌴 (@AnthonyQuintano) May 19, 2017

"We all have those ideas," he said when asked if he ever had terroristic thoughts.

According to the complaint, Uskanli boarded the plane without any luggage, carrying only a phone, laptop, charger, and miscellaneous items in his pockets.

Not long after he was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing at LAX after breaching a security door while under the influence, crew escorted him down the jet bridge in a wheelchair.

Once aboard the Airbus 321, he plopped into a seat in first class. At a flight attendant's repeated urging, Uskanli eventually moved to 35B, his assigned seat.

After the flight took off, Uskanli began repeatedly moving his laptop from the seatback pocket to the space under the seat, "uttering things and talking to himself," one passenger told FBI agents.

He then got up to use the lavatory, but failed to lock the door, the complaint adds. When another passenger attempted to enter the lavatory, Uskanli allegedly began "yelling and pounding on the walls."

After flight attendants escorted him back to his seat, they found what appeared to be cigarette pieces around the toilet.

A short time later, Uskanli "wrapped a blanket around his head, picked up his laptop," and shuffled towards the front of the aircraft.

A flight attendant used a beverage cart to block the aisle, but Uskanli shoved back, then set his laptop on the cart, triggering immediate alarm among the crew. The flight attendant was concerned following reports that terrorists are attempting to target aircraft with explosives concealed inside electronics, the complaint explains.

While an off-duty law enforcement officer steered Uskanli back to his seat, a flight attendant barricaded the laptop in the rear of the aircraft -- standard procedure for handling a possible explosive device. To further mitigate the impact of a potential in-flight bomb, the pilot descended to 5,000 feet, according to the complaint.

Uskanli was restrained with duct tape, witnesses say.

Upon landing, Uskanli was escorted off the flight by law enforcement, and bomb technicians and canine units seized the laptop and secured the plane. No explosives were found inside the laptop, authorities say.

Uskanli's urinalysis came back positive for benzodiazepine. Other field sobriety tests indicated he may have been high on stimulants or cannabis, according to the complaint.

During a post-incident interview with FBI agents, Uskanli "made a gun shape with his fingers and pretended to shoot,"simulated a ‘chopping motion’" at an agent's neck, and threatened to kill a female agent, according to the complaint.

Asked if he planned to hurt anyone, he told agents, "it depends on the day."

He was charged with interfering with a flight crew, and was scheduled to appear in court Monday.

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