Eleven-year-old AbbieGail Smith was killed in New Jersey last week in a tragedy that has shocked her entire family. Now the little girl’s grieving father and older sister, both of whom reside in Jamaica, are pleading with President Donald Trump to allow them into the U.S. to attend the little girl’s funeral this coming Monday.
In a video posted to the site APP, AbbieGail’s father, Kenroy Smith, burst into tears as he asked Trump to intervene on behalf of AbbieGail’s older sister, Kenish Smith, who had her visa application denied. Kenroy Smith’s status also remains in limbo. USA Today notes that the father had previously been deported from the U.S. following a marijuana arrest 16 years ago.
“My dear little AbbieGail was taken away, and I need to pay my last respects to her,” Kenroy Smith said in the video. “That’s all I’m asking, please, sir.”
According to USA Today, Kenish Smith had her temporary visa application denied Wednesday without reason. She said that officials at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, asked her about her occupation as a cosmetologist and her ties to her home country before rejecting her application.
Kenish Smith said that she showed officials AbbieGail’s death certificate and a letter from the Monmouth County, N.J., Prosecutor’s Office, to no avail.
“AbbieGail Smith needs her sister there at the moment,” she said. “Who’s going to stand up for us? We have no control. We can’t do it on our own.”
Kenroy Smith said he would find out Friday whether or not he will be allowed entry into the U.S.
“She’s my daughter. She’s my everything,” he said. “Please let me see my daughter for the last day before she goes under.”
AbbieGail’s body was found July 13 wrapped in a blanket on the roof of her apartment building mere hours after she was reported missing, authorities say. The little girl had been stabbed in the neck. Her upstairs neighbor Andreas Erazo has been charged with murder in her death and is currently in the Monmouth County Jail awaiting a bail hearing.
Kenroy Smith acknowledged that he is not certain if he will be allowed in the country, since he was deported from the United States to Jamaica in 2001 following a marijuana arrest, but he remains hopeful.
“I’m not worried. I’m just praising God,” he said.
Latisha Smith, another one of AbbieGail’s sisters, who lives in Maryland, said that she has been writing emails to elected officials and going to local immigration officers every day this past week in hopes of helping her father and her sister acquire visas to pay their final respects.
Latisha Smith said that AbbieGail regularly visited her father in Jamaica and the two had developed a special bond.
“We’re a family. We all need to be together for AbbieGail,” she said. “The government—I just hope they hear my cry.”
Read more at USA Today.