Afghan refugee, former U.S. interpreter confronts Senator Grassl - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Afghan refugee, former U.S. interpreter confronts Senator Grassley

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A refugee from Afghanistan made a very personal call for help to Senator Grassley during his town hall stop this week. Zalmay Niazy, from Iowa Falls, says uncertain immigration orders are leaving him in limbo and putting his life at risk.

During Tuesday's town hall meeting with Senator Grassley, Niazy came to the front of the room, making a plea for help.

"I am an Afghan, and I served this country very proudly as an interpreter for the United States Armed Forces," said Niazy. "Mr. Grassley is saying that we need to get the American people saved. But I am a person from a Muslim country and I am a Muslim from a Muslim country, who's going to save me here? Who's going to stand behind me?"

The question prompted a response from Senator Grassley, saying he would make an effort to help Niazy with his status. Many began to ask why Niazy came to the U.S. in the first place. 

In 2007, Niazy worked for the U.S as an interpreter for the Armed Forces back when he lived in Afghanistan.

"The United States people, they came to our house for improving our country, and they left a very good life behind to help us," said Niazy.

Niazy says it was a job he loved, even saving the recommendation letters from his time serving. 

However, working for the U.S, came with its consequences-retaliation from the Taliban. 

"They weren't leaving us, and they always had some threat letters, by some means telephone calls," said Niazy. 

He says the Taliban killed his uncle, which was the breaking point. In 2014, he came to the U.S seeking political asylum. After hiring a lawyer and waiting, Niazy says the uncertainty left him feeling helpless. 

"Just like a person half dead, and half alive, you can't go this way and you can't go that way," said Niazy. "An uncertain destination."

Niazy says his life is at risk if he's forced to go back to Afghanistan to face the Taliban. 

"As a Muslim, as a person, I served this country,"said Niazy. "I've been in the first line fighting for this country, helping this country."

Senator Grassley's office says Niazy does have work authorization and his application is pending, which means he is allowed to stay in the U.S. for the time being. 

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