Kirk W. Johnson had an urgent message for President Donald Trump this weekend, so he took to Twitter for the first time.
Johnson wanted to tell @realdonaldtrump how the travel ban on refugees and immigrants — which the president instituted on Friday — could backfire, by discouraging Iraqi interpreters and allies from helping the US in the fight against ISIS. He also desperately wanted to share the stories of Iraqis who sacrificed alongside US Marines.
These tweets struck a nerve with people, racking up more than 15,000 shares from his otherwise inactive Twitter handle.
Since Friday, Johnson has been trying to assist Iraqis who were in transit, or had been scheduled to come, on visas before Trump’s executive order.
“I have people who were on their way to the airport when he was signing this, whose boarding passes were ripped up in front of their faces, and they were told that Donald Trump does not want them in America. And these are people that have served alongside our forces,” Johnson said.
Johnson coordinated reconstruction efforts in Fallujah for the US Agency for International Development and has since become a leading advocate for Iraqis who assisted the US government at high personal cost. He started a group called “The List” project to resettle allies from Iraq, and he wrote a book about it titled, “To Be a Friend is Fatal.”
Johnson said the US already has extreme vetting measures.
“You don’t get to ride in a Humvee alongside marines without us knowing who you are. My colleagues had polygraph examinations routinely, their eyeballs were scanned. These people have US marines and aid workers and diplomats vouching for them on official letterhead.”
“I know people who have sold their houses, their cars, they’ve sold their family jewelry, everything they can because they got a travel date from the United States government, and now they don’t know what to do.”
His time on Twitter may be short-lived. “All I want is one person to read that and that’s the president of the United States.”
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