Hate Crime Death Has Silver Lining for Victim’s Family Members

Members of the Hasan family have endured a long road to obtain U.S. citizenship.

After emigrating from Pakistan, leaving much of their lives behind, the father of the family, Waqar Hasan, was brutally murdered in Texas by white supremacists, four days after the 9/11 attacks.

Despite such a hateful action, the family remained in the United States. On March 16, all five of Waqar’s family members were sworn in and given U.S. citizenship in West Windsor, New Jersey.

“It was his dream come true today,” Usna Hasan said about her father, during an interview with The Associated Press. “It was his dream that became our dream, and it’s an extreme sense of accomplishment, of overwhelming joy and gratitude.”

The brutal death of Waqar left the family in fear for both their own lives and their fate. While all Hasans were here legally, Waqar’s death made their U.S. visa status unclear, as all four of the Hasan children and his wife, Durree, had their visas tied to his.

However, the family’s new New Jersey community stepped in, providing support by way of open arms and legal assistance. According to the AP, the family received numerous care baskets of fresh fruit and baked goods in the wake of Waqar’s death, as well as a community-organized candlelight vigil to honor Waqar’s life.

U.S. Representative Rush Holt sponsored the family’s legal permanent residency by creating a bill for their safe status here. Over the past decade, Holt has become close to the family, and so he personally hosted the family’s immigration and naturalization ceremony.

“This is not a country that says, ‘You’re on your own,’” Holt said during the ceremony. “And Americans have proven that.”