Kirkland family’s American dream a step closer
Ayoob Siddick picked up his cellphone Wednesday afternoon to hear
the news he’d been waiting for after nearly six months of frayed nerves
and sleepless nights.
An immigration judge in Seattle granted asylum in the U.S. to the
Kirkland resident; his wife, Amida; and their four children. They will
not be deported to their native Zimbabwe, where the family feared they
would face persecution or worse.
“I feel as if I’ve been fighting this great war, and now I’m
victorious,” Siddick said. “We are taking time to reflect on everything
that has happened in the past and all the people who have rallied
around us and have never faltered.”
The family, which is buying a home near Mill Creek, moved to
Kirkland five years ago to escape what they described as turmoil and
widespread government corruption. The Siddicks had been fighting for
asylum since 2003, when their first application was denied because the
family had not applied for asylum status within one year of arriving in
the U.S., as the law requires.
In March they appealed that decision and faced an immigration judge
in Seattle to explain why they feared persecution if they returned to
Zimbabwe. In her ruling Wednesday, Judge Victoria Young agreed that the
Siddicks could face persecution.
The Siddicks were members of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), the opposition party to the government’s ruling party, and
members of the MDC have been arrested without cause, tortured and
killed, according to the State Department’s 2005 Country Reports on
Human Rights Practices, released in March.