The Washington Post has recently reported that a once trusted Iraqi translator for the US Marine Corps in Iraq has now been denied a green card, or permanent residency, in the US. Saman Kareem Ahmad, who was reportedly one of the the first Iraqi translators to wear the Marine Corps uniform and risk his life due to his occupation, was denied US permanent residency because he was once part of the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Party, or KDP, which is one of the two largest Kurdish political parties in Iraq.
Ahmad, a Kurd, once served in the KDP’s military force, which is part of the new
Iraqi army. A U.S. ally, the KDP is now part of the elected government of the
Kurdish region and holds seats in the Iraqi parliament. After consulting public
Web sites, however, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services determined that KDP forces “conducted full-scale armed attacks and helped incite rebellions against
Hussein’s regime, most notably during the Iran-Iraq war, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
This denial was made by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, previously the Immigration and Naturalization Services, which is now under the Department of Homeland Security. According to the article, the information the immigration services used to deny the green card was obtained from the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism; a group that is bankrolled by the Department of Homeland Security.
This permanent residency denial smacks of complete terror threat paranoia at best or a willful effort to deny help to Iraqi allies at worst. The rationale given is that the KDP force is an “undesignated terrorist organization,” yet there is no evidence that Ahmad is an enemy of the US, but plenty of evidence to prove quite the opposite. The KDP is and has been an ally of the US and since each case is considered individually, it is baffling that Ahmad has been rejected permanent residency in the country for whose army and government he has worked and risked his life.