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Nov 5, 2011 1:00 AM

Former Iraqi soldier struggling to earn U.S. citizenship in Tucson

TUCSON - Ali Albazergan left Sadaam Hussein's army in Iraq more than 20 years ago. "To be honest it was just a relief to leave Iraq," Albazergan said.

His plan was to become a U.S. Citizen, but the American government isn't exactly rolling out the welcome mat. Immigration officials claim Albazergan is a persecutor, but right now he feels like the one being persecuted.

After serving in the Iraqi army for 10 years, Albazergan and his family escaped to California. They now live in Tucson. Albazergan's wife and daughter are now citizens, so is their 13-year-old son. who was born in this country, but 20 years later, Albazergan is facing deportation, "This is a nightmare," he said.

Adding to his stress, Albazergan hasn't seen his aging parents since 1989. "I'd like to see them. I'd like to hug my dad and hug my mom. If something happens to them I'm going to feel guilty," Albazergan said, choking back the tears.

He can't go see his parents, because without a green card he wouldn't be allowed to return to his family here in Tucson. His application for legal status has been denied because the government says Albazergan "may" be a persecutor of others. "They say maybe. Maybe, it makes my life for 20 years a nightmare," Albazergan said.

Albazergan admits his army unit did participate in the execution of Kurds, but Albazergan says he was an unarmed cook and driver in the army, and he never persecuted anyone. "If they have anything against me, let them face it to me, tell me, Ali. Because of this and that we're not giving it to you. My lawyer tells me don't worry Ali, nothing against you," Albazergan said.

Maurice Goldman, Albazergan's immigration attorney told News 4 Tucson the same thing: "Our contention is that they have not provided or had any evidence, credible evidence, to demonstrate this."

News 4 Tucson requested an interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, they declined, saying they will not talk about any specific case. They did send us an email, which reads in part: "Our goal is to provide the right immigration benefit to the right person."
Albazergan and his family were back in court Friday morning and once again his case has been pushed back until July of next year.

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