Dr. Seyed Shahram Iranbomy's 20-year-old son Irman, a college student living in Falls Church, Va., died in a car accident in Washington, D.C. on June 10.
Dr. Iranbomy intended to make the 4,000-mile journey from his Frankfurt, Germany home to say good-bye to his son.
There was just one problem: the American Consulate in Frankfurt denied Dr. Iranbomy a visa.
His humanitarian appeal to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) went unanswered until two weeks after Irman's funeral was scheduled to commence, and even then it failed to provide a reason for its decision.
According to a form Iranbomy says a U.S. consulate official provided, Iranbomy was denied a nonimmigrant visa because the Immigration and Nationality Act "prohibits issuing a visa to any person who seeks or has sought to procure a visa, other documentation, admission into the United States, or immigration benefit by fraud or by willfully misrepresenting a material fact."
Iranbomy quoted the US consulate as saying:
"You're using the death of your son to immigrate to America; you're not telling the truth."
Dr. Iranbomy is a human rights and discrimination attorney, and has been living in Germany for 40 years.
He is a German citizen who was told he lacks German roots since he is an Iranian immigrant.
He stated to DW, a German news and current events website:
"I am more German than Iranian."
His visa refused, Iranbomy applied for a special travel document that would allow "parole into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons."
Hoping this would grant permission to attend his son's funeral, Dr. Iranbomy's ex-wife and 18-year-old daughter delayed the funeral.
Even a European Commission lawyer got involved, addressing an inquiry to a European Parliament member.