|Our own Annie Rogers was part of this incredible story; booking the ticket that finally brought Hayat to the US to begin his new life!
“I am so honored to be such a small part of this story. Dennis and Mary Norris came into my office on Friday with their daughter, Katie, filled with excitement and trepidation as they explained the situation and we secured the ticket from Dubai to Indianapolis.
It was a long weekend of praying that Hayat’s journey from the Kabul airport to Dubai was successful and that his entry into the US went without incident. There was audible relief and joy in the Indianapolis airport on Monday as Hayat finally appeared and one journey ended in order for an amazing adventure to begin!”
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By Ray Cortopassi
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 12, 2014)– After a life and death struggle, an interpreter from Afghanistan is safe here in Indiana.
FOX59’s Ray Cortopassi has been following this story closely for two years. Up until now, he has only been able to see and talk to 28-year-old Hayat Nooristani via Skype.
This is Nooristani’s first time in Indiana, and his first trip to the U.S. Even so, he knows many Americans well. Nooristani was a translator who helped American forces overseas. Along that road, there have been many heart-breaking moments, where there was promise and then a door slammed shut.
“He’s always had this wisp of a promise of freedom, of America, of democracy. He doesn’t really know what that is,” said Dennis Norris, Hayat’s Indiana sponsor.
Hayat was born and raised in the mountains of Afghanistan. Fluent in six languages, he landed a job as a translator with the United States Army, finding himself fighting the Taliban alongside American soldiers. Norris hired Hayat as an interpreter. When his time was up, he qualified for a chance to come to America. However, the State Department kept the process dragging on, and Hayat was on the run from the terrorists he helped fight.
On Aug. 5, FOX59 learned from the U.S. State Department that the special immigrant visa had been issued from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for Hayat.
“Hayat is a survivor. He smart, and he knows what to do. And the fact that he made it through the Kabul Airport and got to Dubai, was the think that I was most worried about, but he did it and he’s gonna be here in a few minutes,” said Norris.
It was at Indianapolis International Airport Tuesday that the painful tension and years of waiting finally washed away as soon as we caught sight of Hayat.
And that uncertainty gave way into the embrace of unfamiliar relief, and emotions that couldn’t be held back.
With pressure from Congressman Todd Rokita’s office, almost 200,000 signatures on aChange.org petition and even letters to legislators from school children at East Tipp Middle School in Lafayette , an exhausted Hayat had a lot of people to thank.
“I’m so happy to be here,” Hayat said. He told FOX59 he thought this day would never come.
“He’s safe. He’s free and he’s got the rest of his life in front of him,” said Norris.