“I did it because I like my country and the Mahdi army was working for Iran,” Salam Hamrani, an Iraqi refugee in Cyprus, tells his good friend Trudy Rubin, columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Then he continues: “I made trouble for my family by trusting the Americans. I worked with the Americans for no money, because I believed they were friends of Iraq.”
Rubin explains in a column appearing in the Columbus Dispatch, that Salam used to tip U.S. forces off to the whereabouts of the worst of the Mahdi Army killers– a service that landed him in an Iraqi jail for two years and brought him death threats after his release. Now he and his family wait anxiously in Cyprus, and Salam wonders whether he made the right choices.
“People said they were occupiers, but me, I said no, they were liberators. Why did they forget me? When America takes what it wants and then they leave all their friends, it makes people feel they made a mistake in helping America.”
The Kennedy Act should have allowed between twenty and twenty five thousand Iraqis who worked for the U.S. to reach the safety of our shores by Special Immigrant Visas since 2007– instead, that figure (SIVs) is less than 3,500. Surely something can be done to fix the broken implementation of this law so that Salam and others like him no longer look upon helping Americans as a deadly mistake for themselves and their families.