Coming to America
October 13, 2007
BAGHDAD, IRAQ --They arrived! It was a different and foreign place. He looked at his wife, his five children and their luggage, all they had. It was the beginning of a whole new life in a whole new land. Iraqi translators who work for the United States military provide an extremely valuable service, but these Iraqis also take on considerable risk for themselves and their families.
In light of this, these interpreters are often granted a special immigrant visa to the United States. One Fredericksburg area family is playing an integral part in helping a couple of Iraqi families get on their feet in America.
"When I first got here (the International Zone) Nima was working for me, and he told me he was going for the special immigrant visa. I asked him, 'do you have a location to live, do you have a job locked down'' he didn't have anything," said Maj. Sean Malloy, a Virginia National Guardsman serving in Baghdad's International Zone.
"He didn't care, he just wanted out of the red zone. He didn't care if he landed in the middle of D.C. with just his bags. I emailed all that to my wife, and she took it from there."
Maj. Malloy's wife went to work at Chancellor High School and asked for help taking care of the family. Malloy's sister also chipped in, by taking the house she was trying to sell off the market so Nima's family could live there temporarily.
"They have the money, but he couldn't rent a home until they get all their paperwork in and that could take a few weeks," said Malloy. "They can't even get an apartment until they get their Social Security cards in."
When Nima's family arrived, Maj. Malloy's wife rented a 15-passenger van to pick them up. People donated items such as dishes and furniture. One Fredericksburg store contributed a dining room table with chairs.
"Mrs. Malloy (Tammi) is always there when ever we need anything! By the way, we should not forget that she already has four lovely kids of their own and a full-time job as a teacher. We get extra support from Tammi's friends on a daily basis," said Nima Z. Motashar, the former Joint Area Support Group deputy director of Community Affairs. "I would like to thank them so much for all the help. This is the least I could say about what they have done for my family and I. Thanks Sean and Tammi!"
Malloy's four daughters also helped in introducing the Iraqi family to their new life.
"My family loves the kids; they are trying to work around the language barrier. My oldest and his oldest are trying to teach each other the language. They try and translate between them," said Maj. Malloy. "My youngest hadn't figured out that they don't speak English yet and she is quite the little talker, just talk, talk, talk. Nima's family was just looking at her and smiling and I guess she thought that they were agreeing with her or something."
Maj. Malloy's generosity is not limited to helping one Iraqi family. He is also hosting another Iraqi couple and their three year old in his basement.
"Iraqis like Nima are very driven and very action oriented and now he is stuck in the wait for Social Security Cards and Green Cards," said Maj. Malloy. "It is a slow process, but he sends a whole lot of thanks."