A Dallas attorney and former member of the Texas House of Representatives is among several individuals and groups who filed a lawsuit against President Trump and several federal government agencies this week to halt the most recent immigration ban enacted by the Trump Administration.
Allen Vaught, a former Army Captain who served in Iraq and was once considered the defacto "mayor" of Fallujah after it was re-taken by U.S. troops in 2003, worked with several Iraqi interpreters. He has been able to bring two of those interpreters to the United States. For the last two years, he has been trying to bring a third, a friend whom for security reasons he will only refer to as "Sam" and who is referred to in the lawsuit as "John Doe 1."
"Him being by my side, and by the side of other U.S. soldiers he helped too, put a mark on his head. I had two translators that were murdered over there, tortured. I had one translator burned alive," he said.
"I hired him," he said of his friend Sam. "I recruited him. If he dies, it's on me."
For the past two years, Vaught and his wife have been proceeding through all the necessary legal challenges to bring the interpreter, and eventually his family, to the United States.
"That's the thing I wish people could understand is that the refugee and immigrant vetting process is incredibly thorough,” the Purple Heart recipient said.
The rules continue to change as the Trump Administration put bans in place, halting immigration from mostly majority Muslim countries, including Iraq by suspending the United States Refugee Admissions Program. The bans have been challenged all the way to the Supreme Court.
"And the other thing you have to realize is that when that hold is put on place, some of these clearances and backgrounds checks may expire, and it pushes you back to the end of the line again," he said.
"So the latest executive order, we were about two weeks from getting Sam out, passed everything again, all the way up through medical, getting ready to welcome him into our home, and third executive order comes out and puts a hold on it, for at least 90 days," he said.
This week Vaught agreed to be a plaintiff in the latest lawsuit against the Trump Administration along with fellow plaintiffs the Jewish Family Service of Seattle and Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley. There are seven "John Does" represented in the lawsuit currently pending in Federal Court in Seattle. It asks for a federal judge to grant an injunction blocking the most recent executive order.
"I believe my message to the president would be, take a hard look at what you're doing. Individuals like Sam, he loves this country as much as any American I've met, even though he's never stepped foot on our soil. Don't hurt those individuals with overly broad executive orders that are really knee-jerk reactions based on fear," he said.
"I hope that many people, regardless whether they're Republicans, Democrats or whatever, will step forward and say Mr. President this is too much, this needs to stop. You're hurting the wrong people," he said.
A message a former Army Captain is committed to, even it means suing the President of the United States.
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