Friday, April 3, 2009

Iraq War Hero Denied Entrance to The U.S.

Well, it wasn't Obama this time, it was the State Department. Oh, for the love of our allies:

The State Department has made a decision to make an Iraqi translator, Jasim, wait another three years for a visa. One of the reasons that the denial was issued was that, Jasim, as part of the Kurdish Peshmerga, infiltrated Uday Hussein's organization to steal data and then stole Uday's car to escape. He was captured, tortured, and then released six years later when Saddam let all the prisoners go on the eve of the Invasion in 2003.

The theft of Uday's car is looked upon as criminal and not political.

"On several occasions while our guys were putting rounds down range, Jasim put himself in harm's way to pull the wounded out and treat them," Keene said. "Jasim is a hero to everyone he has ever met."
After the invasion, Jasim became a legendary translator, assisting
above and beyond.

"I owe my life to Jasim ... hands down," said Master Sgt. Jason Krieger, who went on over 200 combat patrols with Jasim. "I consider him a brother, not only in arms, but in love as well."
For six years, Jasim has put his life on the line to help our troops. His stepbrother paid the ultimate price for Jasim's heroism.

Jasim said his stepbrother, in fact, was captured in the fall of 2007 and was tortured to death in an effort to get to him. The U.S. Army officer who received and processed the report on the murder, Major LeslieParks, told that Jasim's stepbrother was tortured with an electric drill through his eyes.
So his application had letters of recommendation, awards and certifications from soldiers, and the DoD and DHS approval.

Do I smell liberal, or just error? I can't help but wonder... The most relevant bits from Fox News:

An Iraqi translator who has earned commendations for risking his life repeatedly to save the lives of many American soldiers in combat has been denied a visa to live in the United States because of nonviolent actions he took to overthrow Saddam Hussein — at the same time the U.S. government was calling for regime change in Iraq.

Jasim, whose name is being withheld for his safety, has received strong support from the U.S. military, and the Department of Homeland Security approved his application for a visa. But the State Department has denied Jasim a visa because he was arrested in 1996 for actions against the Saddam dictatorship.

Some of Jasim's supporters, however, believe the real reason he's been denied a visa is that he has become a "nuisance" to State Department personnel at the Baghdad Embassy. The State Department, citing privacy concerns, declined to discuss Jasim's case.

Because Iraqi translators are seen by jihadists and former Baathists as "traitors," Jasim's life is at greater risk the longer he stays in Iraq, according to multiple State Department and U.S. military officials. A number of translators and their families have already been tortured and/or murdered.

Wait, it gets better. Keep reading:

U.S. military officials familiar with Jasim's case believe that he will be in even greater danger after U.S. forces withdraw from most of Iraq next year.

The State Department, meanwhile, has told Jasim that he must wait three more years before he can apply for a waiver of its visa rejection.

When he applied for his visa, Jasim feared it might be denied by an overworked consular officer on the basis of his arrest, so he attached a letter explaining the full circumstances.

Jasim wrote that his hatred of Saddam was formed at a young age, as the regime murdered five of his relatives during his childhood. Barely into adulthood, Jasim joined the Peshmerga, a largely Kurdish group whose primary goal in the 1990s was to overthrow Saddam — an objective supported by the Clinton administration.

The Pehmerga assigned Jasim to obtain documents and eavesdropping equipment that were in the possession of Saddam's ruthless son, Uday, and Jasimn said that he stole Uday's car in order to retrieve the documents and equipment.

Soon after, he was arrested, and he was sentenced to life in prison. For the next six and a half years, he was routinely tortured, he said.

On the eve of the Coalition invasion in 2003, Hussein released many prisoners as a "goodwill" gesture, and Jasim was among them.

... Four experts in visa policy, including three former consular officers who reviewed Jasim's case history for, said they found the official reasoning for Jasim's denial puzzling...

They said a specific provision in the law relating to "crimes of moral turpitude" should define Jasim's action of stealing Uday Hussein's car as "political," thus making him eligible for a visa. The first exception listed in the relevant law is that "purely political" actions do not qualify as "crimes of moral turpitude."

...Even if the State Department were to ignore the political motivations of Jasim's actions, each expert agreed that standard car theft likely wouldn't
disqualify an applicant with an otherwise clean record.

"It's not such a serious crime that you could say anyone who steals a
car is ineligible for a visa. Then you consider that it happened over a decade
ago, while he was young, and he has no other criminal history," explained a
former consular officer who served two tours. But, he stressed, "It certainly
seems political to me."

It's just not good enough for the State Department. I won't be emailing them becuase my family is frowning on me for even suggesting that I email, but here's what I would have written:
Dear Sir:

It has come to my attention that a man known as "Jasim" who assisted us in the war on terror, has been denied a visa to the United States. I would like to know why this is.

Thank You.

Because first, I want to know why (And car theft doesn't seem like a good reason). Then I'll take it from there. From Gateway Pundit:
Here is the link to the contact email form.The main switchboard phone number is here: 202-647-4000 The Press Office is (202) 647-2492 Contact Congress.

Be polite, be professional, be unwavering in letting them know they are going to be hearing a lot more about this bureaucratic issue that could easily be resolved.

I might ignore my family and email them yet, but I doubt it. I smell liberal at the back of this...

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