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Sunday, January 28, 2018


David --
When I served in combat in Iraq, I wouldn’t have been able to do my job without my interpreter, Ali.
Pat and Ali in Iraq
I was the intelligence officer for a battalion of 1,000 soldiers and officers responsible for ground operations in Mosul. Ali was the lifeline that made it possible to communicate with Iraqi civilians, work with coalition troops, and carry out our mission.
He had a tough, dangerous job -- if something got lost in translation, lives could have been at risk. And he put his own life at risk countless times. One night, driving back to his home, he was shot seven times and was so badly wounded that he was taken for dead at an overwhelmed Iraqi emergency room.
But he survived. And after he recovered, he continued to put his life on the line serving with American soldiers. 
When Ali decided that he wanted to come to the United States, I knew his honorable service had more than proven that he deserved a shot at the American dream. But it wasn’t easy -- I had to fight for years to get Ali and his wife to the U.S.
Pat and Ali last week
Thousands of interpreters like him are still waiting for their chance to come here. Ali and his wife Layla are still fighting for visas for their children, delayed by a backlogged and broken immigration system.
When Donald Trump announced a year ago that he was barring citizens of 7 Muslim-majority countries from the U.S., my first thought was of Ali, who put everything on the line to make our work possible -- and who would be left behind.
Trump’s Muslim ban was a despicable way to repay their sacrifice. It’s been amended to let Iraqis in, but that’s not enough. Shutting people out based on their religion or their country’s name runs contrary to the American values my fellow soldiers and I risked our lives to defend.
When these values are under attack, we all have to stand up, together. That’s why thousands of protesters took to the airports and the streets a year ago. And that’s why I’m running for Congress today.
-- Pat

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