Ex-interpreter for US troops in Afghanistan released from ICE custody

Ex-interpreter for US troops in Afghanistan released from ICE custody
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A former translator for U.S. forces in Afghanistan was released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on Thursday after being threatened with deportation.

Mohasif Motawakil left Houston International Airport after being detained for seven days and the visas for himself, his wife and five children will be reinstated, according to a statement from Texas immigrant advocacy group RAICES.

Motawakil and his family were detained on Jan. 10 upon arrival at the airport, apparently threatened with deportation to Kabul, Afghanistan over the opening of sealed medical records by a member of his family.

U.S. officials were concerned that the documents could be fakes, according to RAICES.


He was arrested by immigration officials and placed in detention. His wife and children were later paroled.

Motawakil was eligible for a special immigrant visa because he had assisted American military operations in Afghanistan as a translator from 2012-2013, later working as a U.S. contractor in the region.

“It’s shocking to see the way this administration is treating those who have supported our troops,” said Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES. “Of course, it’s not only veterans who are being attacked by our immigration system: We’ve seen sponsors deported when they pick up children from detention centers, children die in immigration custody, and migrants tear-gassed across the border. The administration is engaged in a systematic attack on all who it thinks do not belong in this country, and this is just the latest evidence of that.”

Four Texas Democrats contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on behalf of Motawakil. Reps. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettHow to prioritize climate action with workers, communities in mind Dems build case for obtaining Trump's tax returns Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Trump official says agency would not have supported family separations | 2020 Dems walk fine line on 'Medicare for all' | Advocates skeptical of Trump AIDS pledge | Johnson and Johnson to show drug prices on TV MORE (D) and Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroDems plan hearing on emergency declaration's impact on military Overnight Defense: Dems tee up Tuesday vote against Trump's emergency declaration | GOP expects few defections | Trump doubles number of troops staying in Syria to 400 On The Money: Dems set Tuesday vote on Trump's emergency declaration | Most Republicans expected to back Trump | Senate plots to avoid fall shutdown drama | Powell heading before Congress MORE (D) made calls to the agency, while while Reps. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeCongress allows Violence Against Women Act to lapse Five takeaways from acting AG's fiery House hearing Democrat to acting AG: 'We are not joking here' MORE (D) and Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Next 24 hours critical for stalled funding talks Democrat vows to move forward with impeachment, dividing his party Citing Virginia race scandals, Dem vows vote to impeach Trump MORE(D) arrived at the airport in support of the family.