An Iraqi interpreter who put his life on the line for the U.S. military told reporters that he likes Donald Trump, even though the president’s executive order resulted in his airport detention. His praise for America was even stronger.
A federal judge granted an emergency stay of Trump’s executive order on the evening of January 28. According to ABC News, “The ruling does not appear to overturn administration policy, but does appear to apply to all of those people currently detained at airports across the country who were facing imminent deportation.”
Hameed Khalid Darweesh, 53, was freed after spending hours at John F. Kennedy airport in New York. An ebullient Darweesh also told the crowd of reporters that he thinks America is the greatest nation in the world and a symbol of freedom.
You can watch his interview above.
Darweesh was one of at least 13 refugees who were detained at airports after Trump signed his executive order on immigration, according to a New York representative, Jerry Nadler, who is working to secure their release.
According to CNN, Darweesh will be allowed to remain in the United States “due to provisions in Trump’s order that allow the State and Homeland Security departments to admit individuals into the US on a case-by-case base for certain reasons, including when the person is already in transit and it would cause undue hardship and would not pose a threat to the security of the US.”
Here’s a transcript of what Darweesh said:
“First of all I want to thank the people that take care of me and support me. They leave their family, their business, and they come to support me. This is the humanity. This is the soul of America. This is what pushed me to move, leave my country and come here. I am very, very thankful to all of the people who come to support me. Thank you very much…and always, we know, America is the land of freedom. The land of freedom, the land of the right. So this is what took me to come here. I am very thankful, and I am very happy. Really, I forget whatever happened to me because of those people. America is the greatest nation, the greatest people in the world.”
Asked what he would say to Donald Trump, he responded:
“I like him. But I don’t know. This is a policy, I don’t know. He is a president not a normal person. I have a special immigration visa in my pocket, me and my family, because I worked for the U.S. government. I support the U.S. government from the other side of the world. But when I come here, they said no. They treat me like I break the rule or did something wrong. That surprised me.”
But he repeated that he was happy because of the people who had supported him.
You can read more about Darweesh and his service to America here:
See photos of the protests at JFK over the ban here: