Jamil Patkik, a Pakistani immigrant, was injured while working as a combat translator for the United States Army in Afghanistan was recently reunited wtih his wife and children in Queens, New York, according to the New York Daily News. Patkik applied to have his family join him in the United States after he was paralyzed from the waist down in a violent 2010 Black Hawk chopper crash in Zabul, Afghanistan. Patkik was one of three survivors.
The process of getting his family here legally has been a long and difficult one. After applying for his family, Patkik was told his family’s application was put in a 10 month waiting list by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to the Daily News. Moved by Patkik’s journey, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stepped in, and spoke with the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan in attempts to convince them to allow Patkik’s family to come live with him.
“I thank Mr. Patkik for his heroic service and sacrifice to our country and will continue to assist his family,” Gillibrand told the news source.
Patkik, a U.S. citizen, migrated to the Queens in 2000 with his family after the Soviet-Afghan war. After selling chicken with rice from a food truck and driving a taxi, he realized he wanted to be a war translator. During a family visit to Islamabad, he met and married his wife Naseem, who remained there with their children. According to the New York Daily News, he is happy to be permanently reunited with his family.
“Before, I was always away from them,” Patkik told the news source. “Now we’ll be together forever.”
On May 26, 2011, six senators, including Gillibrand, introduced the The Military Families Act. The bill was introduced in hopes of allowing family members that are deported while their spouses were serving the United States abroad to return to the country on a green card. The bill has not been passed yet.