A translator who risked his life to help Illinois National Guardsmen during the Iraq War has moved to the American southwest, following several years of waiting during the Special Immigrant Visa approval process.
Jaguar, as he is known to American troops, has been featured in several NBC 5 reports since 2016 and said his association with the US military put his life in danger in Iraq.
But the former interpreter said he and his family were determined to make it to the United States, and now they are settling into their new life in Arizona.
“I know some English, but my family, they didn’t, but they are doing very good with this community,” Jaguar said. “They are very peaceful, nice people and we are very excited and very happy to start a new life here.”
Illinois National Guard veteran John Taylor served in Iraq during the early years of the war and has kept in communication with Jaguar and offered him guidance.
“I believe that we should support our war time allies. I think it’s our obligation,” Taylor said.
According to government records, 3,954 Iraqi and Afghan translators and their dependents have received a Special Immigrant Visa since 2007, although the data is preliminary and subject to change. Data from after June 30, 2021 has yet to be made public.
Majid Jabber also served as a translator for American soldiers during the Iraq War. Jabber has since moved to Illinois and become a business owner.
Jabber said his advice for Jaguar is to embrace everything he sees in the US.
“This country is rich of traditions and history and just make it your own and be proud as American as I am,” Jabber said.
As for the near future, Jaguar said he will be getting his kids into school and he will start looking for a job.
“I have everything and we will try to continue living here and make some own business maybe. Let’s see,” Jaguar said.
He also said when he gets settled he would like to help others in Iraq still waiting for their chance to move to America.