by Sam Hieb
Sen. Thom Tillis— along with Democratic U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Claire McCaskill of Missouri —-sent a letter to Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis expressing concern about “one aspect” of President Trump’s executive order restricting refugees—the detainment of Iraqis who supported U.S. armed forces:
“Over the weekend, two Iraqis who supported the U.S. armed forces and who, after years of vetting, received special immigrant visas to enter the U.S. were detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport after the executive order was put into place,” the senators said to Mattis.
One of the Iraqis, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army after it invaded Iraq in 2003. After he emerged from custody to cheers from a crowd at the airport, he said the U.S. was “the land of freedom” home to “the greatest people in the world.”
The other Iraqi, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, had been trying to reunite with his wife in Texas. She had come to the U.S. because she feared for her life after having worked for a U.S. security contractor.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Monday said of Trump’s order that it “regrets such a decision” against a country that the U.S. considers “an ally and a strategic partner.”
Apparently Tillis’ concern for Messrs. Darweesh and Alshawi did not appease protestors outside Tillis’ Raleigh office, where the target was Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos, recipient of a ringing endorsement from fellow Sen. Richard Burr before her nomination cleared a Senate committee.
One interesting comment from a protestor:
The mom of three marched in the rally and brought one of her children.
“Public schools already don’t have enough money to really take care with what they got,” Beaulac said. “I don’t want to see my kids get in a situation where education starts to decline even more.”
Put this in context –we’re talking the federal education secretary here, and this “mom of three” is worried about “education declining even more”—to which I would ask who’s been in charge at the federal level for the last eight years?