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Thread: Federale's Immigrant Of The Day: Imam Rauf

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    Immigrant of the Day: Safaa Wadi (Iraq)

    Safaa Wadi arrived in the United States with a special immigrant visa for Iraqi and Afghan interpreters. But with his savings nearly depleted and unable to land a decent job, Wadi enlisted in the US Army.

    Wadi isn't worried about returning to Iraq, where many of his countrymen considered him a traitor because he worked with American forces. His allegiance is now to the United States, he says.

    The Washington Post quotes Wadi: "I want to serve this country because this country returned to me my life. . . . If I had stayed in Iraq, I'd be dead now."

    Wadi currently shares a two-bedroom apartment in Lewiston, Maine with three other Iraqi immigrants.

    Iraqi interpreters working for U.S. forces often face grave danger. They receive instant messages on their cell phones threatening harm to them or their families. Some of their cars get blown up. Some get shot. Some are killed. The United States responded by increasing from 50 to 500 the annual number of interpreters from Iraq and Afghanistan who were allowed to immigrate here in the last two fiscal years. Wadi jumped at the chance, becoming one of 1,880 applicants for the slots.

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