News from the Week of August 6th

Ali Nayyef grew up in Iraq as the son of an interpreter for the United States military. After his father was killed by Al-Qaeda, he and his family immigrated to the United States. Before he came to his new home, however, he reached out to the soldiers his father worked with. “I just remember having a great amount of respect and admiration for what [U.S. troops] did. Not only for their country but for my country as well.” Inspired by their service, he joined the Virginia National Guard where he was recently named a 2018 Pat Tillman Scholar.

Last week it was reported that, despite being in her fourth year in uniform, U.S. Army Specialist Yea Ji Sea would be honorably discharged Friday and deported because of her immigration status. Since coming to the United States at nine-years-old, she has been granted various visas to remain. She joined the military to become a U.S. citizen but—because of a potentially corrupt U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent—an issue arose with her application, leading to her pending discharge and deportation. Specialist Sea is one of many service members that have been in similar situations during the past year. But more to follow, as the Washington Post reported on Thursday that the U.S. Army has suspended discharges of immigrant recruits. We’re hopeful this may affect Sea’s case and will be monitoring for new developments.

Francisco Joaquin, a 62 year-old Navy Veteran, is the oldest intern in Washington D.C. this summer. One of six siblings, Joaquin was born in the Philippines and came to the United States after marrying an American missionary. Upon learning that he couldn’t practice law with a Philippine law degree in the United States, he joined the Navy. Now retired from the service and enrolled in law school here, he’s spending his summer interning in the Washington D.C. mayor’s office of Veterans Affairs. 

Nesar is a 38-year-old Special Immigrant Visa recipient and a legal permanent resident in Sacramento. Because of his 14 years of experience working with the U.S. government, he received death threats from terrorist groups in Afghanistan. He therefore made the choice to seek refuge in the United States with his wife and three children. Upon first walking into their fully-furnished apartment, Nesar was blown away. “This is my new home and my new country now,” he thought. Since his arrival he has secured several jobs and witnessed the birth of his newest child on American soil. 

TripAdvisor is partnering with the International Rescue Committee for the Welcome Home initiative. Through the program, recently resettled refugees will be offered tours and activities in New York City and Northern California. “These tours aren’t going to change the lives of refugees, but they can bring them some enjoyment during a difficult time in their lives,” said Steve Kaufer, TripAdvisor’s president and chief executive.