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.{mosads}

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 Doggett (D) and Joaquin Castro (D) made calls to the agency, while while Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) and Al Green(D) arrived at the airport in support of the family.

Tags Afghanistan Al Green Houston Immigration Joaquin Castro Lloyd Doggett RAICES Sheila Jackson Lee translator

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