KERRY ANNOUNCES THAT IMMIGRANT WIFE OF IRAQI HERO WON'T BE DEPORTED
Senator John Kerry announced today that the pregnant wife of an Iraqi translator working for the United States military will be allowed to stay in the United States. The plight of Norma Argueta Al-Hilf, the wife of Raad Al-Hilfy, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Basra, Iraq and currently serving with the United States Army, was profiled in the Boston Globe last week. (LINK)
Late last month Kerry contacted Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, asking that Mrs. al-Hilfy, who is not yet a U.S. citizen, be allowed to remain in the United States. Within days ICE postponed her impending removal for one year so her immigration petitions and her status can be considered. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service is now reviewing her petitions to gain legal residency.
Mr. al-Hilfy has been working for the Department of Defense since 2004 as a linguist, and has been deployed to Iraq multiple times to serve as an interpreter for the Navy Seals and Naval Special Warfare. Last summer, he sustained injuries following an insurgent attack and returned to Massachusetts in order to receive extensive physical therapy and medical treatment. Last July, he was nominated and approved to receive a Defense Medal of Freedom for his courageous service in Iraq.
"I want to thank Secretary Chertoff and ICE for their swift and compassionate response. At a time when shortages for translators have made it harder to win hearts and minds and get Iraqis on our side, Raad Al-Hilfy answered the call of duty and reminded all of us what the words citizenship and patriotism really mean. It is fair and just that his family should be allowed to stay here with him in his adopted country. A woman whose husband has been wounded in action and awarded a Medal of Freedom should not have to fear being deported. This was a test of how we treat those who answer the call of duty and I am grateful to Secretary Chertoff for his immediate and appropriate decision," said Senator Kerry.
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