Virginia refugees welcomes brother home

Iraqi interpreter stuck after travel ban

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - We are still waiting for a revised travel ban from President Trump - the one that sparked protests across the country.

We were supposed to hear something this week. In the meantime, the delays are giving one newer Virginia family hope.

Farah Al Khafaji clutched his hand telling WUSA9 her brother reminds her of their father still in Iraq.

"The way he talk, everything. His voice everything,” she said Ali Kamal reached over and gave her a hug.

They were once afraid of President Trump's travel ban but now this Iraqi refugee family says they have hope. For one, Kamal says this is his family’s 15th day in the U.S.

They were denied entry twice after the first Executive Order roll-out, but finally made it on third try after the court-ordered suspension. The got in just days before their visa window was set to expire.

They're also hopeful because of a recent Washington Post report saying revised travel ban may not include a sweeping ban against Iraqi citizens.

"I felt that I just got my freedom when I just landed here,” said Kamal.

Freedom from threats like the ones he showed us in email dating back to 2005.

“Death for the traitor,” Al Khafaji says some of the emails read. The family tells us they many of those threats came from members of Al Qaeda and Hezbollah.

Kamal says that's what his family got working as security and as interpreters for the U.S. military in Iraq. This was said to be from 2003 to 2007, “engineering consultant company which was my father's company,” said Kamal.

Congressman Gerry Connelly called the family heroes when he invited Al Khafaji to the President’s first Joint Congressional Address earlier this week.

Groups like No One Left Behind view this family and the nearly 19-thousand wartime allies they've helped since 2008, as veterans. The organization is now helping the Kamals find a home and furnishings in Virginia.

The brother and sister do not agree with the ban.

"So the people who supply force for protection being denied for security so it doesn't even make sense,” said Al Khafaji.

They’re grateful to be here but they also say they won’t stop worrying until their father and sisters can join them.

“It's not a right, it's a privilege and I believe my family and people like my family deserve a better life in United States,” Al Khafaji told WUSA9.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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