POLITICS
01/28/2017 06:45 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2017

Iraqi Interpreter For U.S. Army Detained At JFK: 'America Is The Land Of Freedom'

Maybe we shouldn't let him down.

NEW YORK ― Even in America’s darker days, there is light.

An Iraqi man who was detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, following President Donald Trump’s executive order targeting Muslims and refugees, said he still loves America. 

On Saturday, more than a dozen people were held at JFK under the order. One of them was Hameed Khalid Darweesh, a man who had worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division in Baghdad and Mosul starting shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He was separated from his wife and children for more than 19 hours while he was questioned.

Darweesh was eventually released, thanks in part to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and the International Refugee Assistance Project. Speaking to reporters outside the airport, Darweesh thanked the supporters and protesters who had shown up on his and other detainees’ behalf. 

“I’m very, very thankful to all of the people who have come to support me,” he said. “Thank you very much. America is the land of freedom. I’m very thankful and very happy.”

A reporter shouted from the back: “What do you think of America?”

Darweesh didn’t miss a beat.

“America is the greatest nation,” he said. “The greatest people in the world.”

Let’s prove him right.  

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