Richland Immigrant Stuck in Immigration Limbo (Part I)

November 9, 2015 9:50 am
by David Jakeman

The U.S. invasion of Iraq had significant implications for millions of lives. For some Iraqi citizens, it meant eventually finding a new home in the United States. For one Richland immigrant, Mushtaq Jihad, who has made his home in the Tri-Cities area, life has been full of ups and downs. Jihad left Iraq after threats on his life. While he has worked hard to make a new life for himself and his family, he is still waiting for his citizenship papers after two years of delays in the United States.

Life in Iraq

Back in 2005, Jihad’s life in Iraq took a dangerous turn. In the power vacuum left after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, armed militias began attacking rich business and even kidnapping them. Kidnappers took Jihad and held him captive. He was able to escape, but not before being severely beaten and tortured.

Unabashed, Jihad took his kidnappers to court, which was actually a dangerous thing to do. People who were connected with those accused sent him death threats. Jihad was even shot once when he left the court. Two years after he was kidnapped, the court was set to make its decision. Jihad left his house with his infant son for some medical treatment. A giant explosion was set off just as he was leaving the door. Jihad lost his son and his right leg.

Recovery from Injury

They called the police, but they didn’t come. So the U.S. military was called in. When they showed up, they thought Jihad was dead. Once they realized that he was alive, they took him to the hospital and his baby’s body to the morgue. Jihad was taken to the hospital, where he spent several months recuperating.

After he recovered, Jihad and his family went into hiding. They then were able to immigrate to the Tri-cities area of Washington. Jihad obtained a green card and became a permanent resident in the United States. He was able to bring his wife and four daughters. Like many immigrants, the first few years were difficult, but things had started looking up, except for his immigration issues. He has run into trouble while waiting 1


1 http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/richland-iraqi-refugees-citizenship-is-stalled/

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