Many of his American friends call him Mo. Mo served as an Interpreter for the US military in Iraq. Like many individuals who choose to serve, his life and those of his family were put at risk. He was issued a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) along with 7,000 other Iraqis and Afghans who served in the US Military to relocate to the US for safety, as they became targets.
Mo’s big stature and excellent English resulted in him having several job offers, but he decided to accept a job setting up apartments for newly arriving refugees. Mo would show up to get a couch donation and lift it over his head by himself, and who doesn’t love seeing this? As a result, the program never received so many donations! Mo threw himself into working in order to get things ready for his family who were approved to come two years later, and to take his mind of the tragedies in Iraq. Many SIVs find themselves balancing between two cultures. They dedicate their lives to working with the US Military, where they are respected and useful. But after arriving in the US, they are often viewed differently by civilian Americans as they are Middle Eastern. Although Mo navigated this divide relatively easily, it is not always easy to find yourself giving up so much for a country that does not recognize your service because you were born elsewhere.