Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Some day, when baby Aisha is old enough to understand, her parents will tell her the back story of her birth.
It starts with Sen. Orrin Hatch's penchant for Costco's all-beef hot dog combo.
"Well, they're so cheap. It's $1.50 and all the condiments you want and you get a drink with it. My gosh, it doesn't get any better than that," Hatch said.
When Hatch is in Utah, he frequents the Costco in Salt Lake City. It was there, five years ago, he met Bosco Kayembe, now the store's administrative manager.
"Gradually, we got acquainted and I asked, 'Where's your wife?'" Hatch recalled.
"He said, 'She's not here.'
"I said, 'What's the matter with that? Don't you want her here?'"
Kayembe desperately wanted his wife, Amina Ait Omar, to join him in the United States, but her visa application was seemingly lost in the bureaucracy.
For more than a year, Kayembe had attempted to work through the process and he was getting increasingly frantic because his wife, whom he married in Morocco in 2014, was pregnant and experiencing complications.
Hatch told him, "Why don't you come to our office and let's see what we can do to work it out."
"And you did," Hatch said to Kayembe.
"The whole thing was for her to come here to have her (Aisha) because we were scared she was going to lose her (Aisha). She was having problem after problem after problem," Kayembe said.
Hatch and his staff worked through the logjam in the federal immigration process. Seven months pregnant, Ait Omar was allowed to enter the United States in December.
Ten weeks later, baby Aisha was born at a Davis County hospital.
On Thursday, Kayembe and Ait Omar introduced their daughter to Hatch, who cuddled and cooed at the infant. "Hello, sweet pea. How are you?" the senator said.
After returning the baby to her parents, Hatch said, "You have a beautiful baby here. We're so happy to have you in this country. I'm really happy we could play a small role in getting this done."
Without the help of Hatch's office, Kayembe said he seriously doubts that his family would be together and healthy.
"That was not a small role. She was not going to come here if you did not get involved, I'm telling you that," he said.
The couple was introduced to each other by Ait Omar's brother, who works at the Salt Lake office of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
After a long-distance courtship, the pair married in Morocco in a wedding that spanned five days. Kayembe had attempted to work through the immigration process for his wife, but papers kept getting lost and the delays seemed endless.
Once Hatch and his staff looked into the matter, it was resolved within weeks, he said.
Hatch's spokeswoman, Heather Barney, said it came down to directing Ait Omar's documents to the proper offices.
"We just help to get the right papers to the right people and just help direct things," she explained. "They had a certified doctor's letter, which helps a lot when you can prove there's a compelling medical reason."
During their visit with Hatch, Kayembe and Ait Omar repeatedly thanked him and his staff for their help.
"It is a blessing. Now it is complete, now she is here," he said, pointing to his family. "God is great."
"I'm so, so happy," Ait Omar said, beaming at her husband and baby girl.
Hatch replied, "We are very happy you are here, especially with this sweet little baby."
When Hatch visits Costco, he always asks Kayembe about his family.
"It's all about the family. What I like a lot about him is, he's a human," Kayembe said of the senator.
Hatch says he enjoys his occasional outings to Costco because they give him an opportunity to peruse new products and "say hello to people in my state."
He even springs for hot dogs for his security detail, some of whom formerly served House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, whose House district is the San Francisco Bay area, renown for its fine cuisine and wine.
"Well, Democrats spend more, you know. We're a little more conservative," Hatch said, softly laughing. "But I get along with Nancy, too. She's a good soul in a lot of ways."
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