A translator who fled Afghanistan with his family after facing retaliation for his work helping U.S. troops has been released from government detention after members of Congress called for his release. Mohammad Asif Motawakil, a 48-year-old man who worked as a translator for American service members in Afghanistan, had been held in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center for more than a week after his visa to enter the United States was cancelled mid-flight. “State Department has reviewed their initial decision, and Mr. Motawakil’s visa has been reinstated and he has been deemed admissible for entry into the United States,” a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told The Daily Beast. Motawakil’s wife and five children had been living off the charity of the Afghan community in Texas after a paperwork snafu resulted in the suspension of their Special Immigrant Visa, a program extended to those who face reprisals for aiding American troops overseas. Members of Congress had told The Daily Beast that they were working for the restoration of Motawakil’s visa after he was detained at a Houston airport last week.
— Scott Bixby