DFW AIRPORT (CBSDFW.COM) – President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration left a man in a wheelchair waiting overnight in the U.S. Customs area at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
Labeeb Issa’s flight landed around 3 o’clock Monday afternoon, but he didn’t leave customs until nearly 7:00 a.m. Tuesday.
Issa’s wait at the airport continued for a few more hours as he sat waiting for a friend to come back and pick him up. That friend fought for his release and after an emotional reunion said, “I can’t tell you what I feel right now because we waited yesterday for him… and today, thanks for God he’s here.”
“Thank you everybody. Thank you everybody,” the friend continued after Issa was released.
Wheelchair bound with a broken pelvis and tired after a 15-hour customs screening, Issa was still full of hope and grateful to be in the United States for the first time.
“Oh, I feel so happy,” he said. “ Maybe if I be in Iraq now, I die. God gave me another life.”
According to the 33-year-old, he was injured when he crashed a vehicle after being shot at in Iraq last year. It’s believed he was targeted because he worked driving for the U.S. Army.
According to an emergency petition filed on his behalf, the injuries he suffered in the crash, along with his service to the U.S. and the threats made against his life all earned him a special immigrant visa.
Attorneys who filed the court document, about an hour before his release Tuesday morning, wanted to know why he was still being held. A number of other travelers left the airport after being cleared through customs in seven hours or less. Customs officials at the airport attributed his delay to it being his first time in the country.
Issa had been traveling for a while. He first went from Bagdad to Qatar, where he was initially told he couldn’t board the North Texas-bound flight because of President Trump’s order. He was eventually allowed to board and once at DFW Airport said officials there apologized for the long delay.
He said he’s okay with the process. “I’m happy. I am grateful and I appreciate the USA government, because they do everything for me.”
Attorneys are still on site to help anyone who may experience lengthy customs delays today.
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