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  1. #1
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Aug 2006

    Iraqi Father on Trump Banning His Family: 'It is Just Like Saddam Hussein's Decisions

    Iraqi father on Trump banning his family: 'It is just like Saddam Hussein's decisions'

    Arwa Gaballa, Eric Knecht, and Michael Georgy,

    Jan. 29, 2017

    Fuad Sharef Suleman shows his passport to the media after US President Donald Trump's decision to temporarily bar travellers from seven countries, including Iraq, at Erbil International Airport, Iraq.Ahmed Saad/Reuters

    CAIRO/ERBIL, Iraq ó Fuad Sharef and his family waited two years for a visa to settle in the United States, selling their home and quitting jobs and schools in Iraq before setting off on Saturday for a new life they saw as a reward for working with US organizations.

    But Sharef, his wife and three children were prevented from boarding their connecting flight to New York from Cairo airport on Saturday. They were sudden victims of US President Donald Trump's new travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.

    Their passports confiscated, the distraught family was detained overnight at Cairo airport and forced to board a flight back to the northern Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday morning.

    "We were treated like drug dealers, escorted by deportation officers," Sharef told Reuters by telephone from Cairo airport.

    "I feel very guilty towards my wife and kids. I feel like I'm the reason behind their dismay."

    In the most sweeping use of his presidential powers since taking office a week ago, Trump signed an order on Friday suspending the entry of people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days. He said this would help safeguard the United States from terrorists.

    The travel curbs took effect immediately, wreaking havoc and confusion for would-be travellers with passports from the seven countries. Sharef and his family were among the first victims.

    People gather to protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at O'Hare airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. January 28, 2017.Reuters/Kamil Krzaczynski

    Sharef and his family arrived at Erbil International Airport looking demoralized, wondering how Trump could sign a document that shattered their dreams in an instant, even though their papers were in order.

    He likened Trump's decision to the dictatorship of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

    "I believe it is a terrible error in the US, terrible error in the history of the United States. I thought America is an institution and democracy," said Sharef.

    "I see (it is) like autocracy, someone signs and effective immediately what does this mean? It is just like Saddam Hussein's decisions. Yeah without going back to the Congress, I donít understand."

    Sharef said he was employed by a pharmaceutical company before leaving Iraq, but had worked on projects funded by US organizations such as USAID in the years following the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    The family applied for a US visa in September 2014 as security conditions in Iraq deteriorated, with Islamic State insurgents seizing swathes of the country and carrying out mass killings.

    Sharef's work with the United States made him particularly vulnerable to attack by militants who view him as a traitor.

    "I am broken, I am totally broken, I don't understand how he rewards those people who helped him. I don't understand this. When we worked with them, we put our lives, my life, my family's life, in jeopardy," said Sharef.

    "And we were easy target every day for terrorist groups. Everyone who works with Americans is regarded as an infidel."

    After risking their lives

    Sharef applied to emigrate via a programme known as Special Immigrant Visa, which was created by US lawmakers to help the tens of thousands of Iraqis who risked their lives helping Americans after the 2003 invasion.

    At least 7,000 Iraqis, many of them interpreters for the US military, have settled in the United States under SIV auspices since 2008, while some 500 more are being processed, State Department figures show.

    Another 58,000 Iraqis have been awaiting interviews under the Direct Access Program for US-affiliated Iraqis, according to the International Refugee Assistance Project.

    Sharef's friend Mona Fetouh said she had worked with him on a USAID-funded local governance and civil society project in 2004. Fetouh, a US resident, said she gave Sharef a recommendation for his SIV application.

    Originally due to fly on Feb. 1, the family decided to travel earlier after news leaked of Trump's plan to issue new immigration restrictions. But they were too late.

    "My plan was to go to Nashville, Tennessee. I have friends there. I have arranged with them and they are preparing house and finding house for me, jobs," said Sharef. "A lot of dreams, yeah... Financially this journey cost me 5,000 dollars and all went down the drain."

    Sharef, father of two girls and a boy, said the family was still in shock and did not know what steps to take next. They would be staying temporarily with Sharef's brother in Erbil.

    "I don't know. Maybe I will send an email to the American embassy in Baghdad asking for an explanation," he said.

    Asked if he feared for his life returning to Iraq, he said:

    "Maybe it's less dangerous in light of the relative regression of Islamic State influence in Mosul, but during my years of work, my life and the lives of my family were constantly in danger and I'm now at risk of being at threat at any moment. There are no guarantees."

    An Iraqi army offensive has been gradually dislodging Islamic State from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

    One of Sharef's biggest challenges is explaining the situation to his children.

    "My little daughter every day keeps asking me when we are going to America and I tried to explain to her that there is a suspension one month and she was calculating days," he said.

    "Okay at that date the suspension will finish and the day after we go, yes dad?"

    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    An ungrateful foreign citizen who compares President Trump's Executive action to Saddam Hussein's decisions. And then to know that Congress approved for the possibility of tens of thousands more to come. Where are the representatives of the American people. Too many seem to be work for the good of foreign governments and foreign citizens.
    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 02-02-2017 at 03:58 AM.
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    STOP PROMISING THESE PEOPLE IMMIGRATION TO THE US IN EXCHANGE FOR HELPING US HELP THEIR COUNTRY!!! We didn't "liberate Iraq" to flood our country with Iraqis. We "liberated" Iraq so Iraqis would have a nice free country. Now, we're Hitlers and Saddam Husseins. You ungrateful stupid people.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  4. #4
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Kurdish family stopped by immigration ban cleared for travel to Nashville

    Ariana Maia Sawyer

    The Kurdish family stopped on their way to Nashville by President Donald Trump's travel ban has been cleared for entry into the United States.

    Fuad Sharef Suleman, his wife, Arazoo Ibrahim, and their three children were prevented from boarding a connecting flight at Cairo International Airport to Nashville despite having special immigrant visas from Suleman's work

    “The Sharef family were innocent victims of President Donald Trump’s executive orders, which I am fighting to reverse," said U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville. "I hope they make it to Nashville without incident.”

    The Sharef family had sold their home, quit their jobs and pulled their children out of school in preparation for their move to Nashville. But the president signed an executive order Friday banning legal travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iraq.

    Instead of checking in at the Cairo airport Saturday, the family of five were deported.

    Tuesday night, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad received revised guidance from the State Department that it is “in the national interest to allow Iraqi special immigrant visa holders to now travel to the United States,” Cooper's office said in a statement.

    Suleman said his family was notified Wednesday morning that they were cleared to travel.

    "They are very excited," he said via an instant messaging service from Iraq. "Dreaming and planning resumed."

    The travel clearance comes after widespread pressure from activists, protesters and lawmakers, as well as national media coverage.

    Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said the organization launched a campaign specifically around the Sharefs, driving calls to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

    Both have spoken out against the executive order, calling it confusing and poorly implemented.

    “We couldn’t be happier for Fuad and his family, and we’re so excited to welcome them into our community," Teatro said.

    But she said it was important to continue organizing for all the other families still effected by the ban "regardless of where they come from or who they worship."

    The American Civil Liberties Union in Tennessee, the American Muslim Advisory Council and the National Immigration Law Center also supported the campaign. But others across the nation and in Tennessee have supported the executive order, saying it would make the nation safer and prevent potential terrorists from entering the United States.

    Cooper said he has been in touch with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and officials at Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the family since he learned of their predicament.

    The embassy has suggested booking the tickets on the family's behalf, since those with special immigrant visas can still be stopped, Suleman said.

    "The point is to make sure that we would not face any problems," he said.

    He said the family expects to be on a plane to Nashville in the next few days.

    Suleman used to work as a regional translator for RTI International, a research organization with a contract through the U.S. government. Because those who work with the American government in Iraq are in danger from groups like the Islamic State, Suleman and his family were given special immigrant visas to come to the United States.

    Erbil, where the family is from, is in Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region in Northern Iraq. Kurdistan is home to the Kurdish Peshmerga — one of the U.S. military's most reliable allies in the fight against ISIS.

    Nashville has the largest population of ethnic Kurds in the United States, with estimates ranging from 12,000 to 17,000 residents, but the number is difficult to pinpoint because it's not measured by the U.S. Census. Many of the American Kurds came as refugees during the early 1990s after Saddam Hussein attacked them using chemical weapons.

    It is the Kurdish community that first drew the Sharefs to Nashville, where they already have friends.

    Cooper praised the State Department for the reversal.

    “Swift action by many committed U.S. State Department employees allowed our nation to right a wrong and fulfill its promise to the Sharef family,” he said. “In America, we should honor our commitments.”
    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 02-02-2017 at 03:57 AM.
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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