Early chaos of Trump’s travel ban set stage for a year of immigration policy debates

Source: The Washington Post


Iraqi immigrant Hameed Darwish speaks with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez after being released at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly – RC1AFDA40E00 (Andrew Kelly/REUTERS)

Hameed Khalid Darweesh had long lived in fear after working as an interpreter for U.S. forces in Iraq. Several of his interpreter friends had been murdered, and threats of violence twice forced him into hiding.

Darweesh decided his family had to leave in 2014, so he applied for the Special Immigrant Visas available to Iraqis who assisted American troops. His final papers arrived three years later, on the eve of President Trump’s inauguration.

After an 11-hour flight to New York City on Jan. 27, 2017, Darweesh, then 58, stood craving a Marlboro just before 6 p.m., when a customs officer looked up without stamping his passport. There was a problem.

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