Vietnamese brothers of dying San Jose man may get a second chance to come to U.S.
Two Vietnamese brothers who were denied temporary visas to donate bone marrow to their dying brother in San Jose may get a second chance to travel to the United States.
Immigration officials will interview Lam Le and Hiep Nguyen next week at the U.S. Consulate in Vietnam to determine if they qualify for B-2 tourist visas, according to the office of Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Fremont, who was among several politicians who took an interest in the case after The Chronicle reported the family’s story June 7.
Their brother, Tu Le, 63, of San Jose, was diagnosed in January 2018 with a form of blood cancer known as myelodysplastic syndrome. A U.S. citizen and father of four, he needs a bone marrow transplant to survive, said his daughter, Trinh Colisao.
The brothers are 100% genetic matches, which is extremely rare, according to Tu Le’s physicians at Stanford. But U.S. immigration officials rejected their visa applications this month because, they said, the brothers failed to provide enough evidence that they’d return to Vietnam after the bone marrow transplant.
Without a transplant, Le’s cancer will continue to advance, his daughter said. She declined to comment Friday.
The State Department, which processes B-2 tourist visas that cover trips for vacation, entertainment and medical purposes, has refused to confirm the family’s account, citing confidentiality.
Several members of Congress — including Khanna, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose — have stepped in to help the family.
Lofgren spoke on Monday with the U.S. Ambassador of Vietnam, Dan Kritenbrink, who offered to grant the brothers another interview so that officials could consider new information in their visa applications, a spokesman said, though it was not clear what that information was.
A letter Friday to Khanna’s office from the U.S. Consulate in Vietnam said a consular officer will interview Lam Le and Nguyen on Tuesday.
“Please be assured that the applications of Mr. Nguyen and Mr. Le will receive all due consideration in accordance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations,” the letter said.
As for the brothers’ original rejection, the letter said, the officer “had no choice under the law but to find them ineligible.”