Pentagon working on a list of Iraqis to protect from immigration ban

In a 2008 file photo, an interpreter, left, translates for U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Schlosser, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo., during a meeting with sheiks at an Iraqi police station in Nimrud, Iraq.


By TARA COPP | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 30, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is compiling a list of Iraqis who have risked their lives to assist U.S. forces in order to exempt them from an immigration ban announced by President Donald Trump.

The ban was enacted Friday in an executive order signed by Trump at the Pentagon. It prevents citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and Syria indefinitely.

The ban sparked a weekend of protests and confusion worldwide, including in the United States. Many U.S. veterans and some lawmakers argued against the ban for Iraq, noting how Iraqi and U.S. forces work together closely for years, most recently in the battle to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.

On Monday, the Iraqi parliament passed a motion to recommend its government take reciprocal measures against Americans holding Iraqi visas, according to news reports. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Monday that the Defense Department is working to protect the Iraqis who U.S. forces depend on.

The Pentagon is “in the process of compiling names. There are a number of people in Iraq who have worked for us in a partnership role, whether fighting alongside us or working as translators, often doing so at great peril to themselves,” he said. “We are ensuring those who have demonstrated their commitment tangibly to fight alongside us and support us, that those names are known in whatever process there is going forward.”

Davis also said the list would extend beyond the Iraqis who are now involved in Operation Inherent Resolve against the Islamic State group. He did not provide a date when the list will be complete.

More so, the U.S. military could be impacted by the executive order. Davis said 5,000 green card holders annually enlist and there are 17,800 green card holders serving in the military at any time.


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