Although it’s hard for him to imagine now, when Philip, an Iraqi interpreter who worked with the U.S. Army, first took the post, he didn’t consider how dangerous it would be.

Seriously, I don’t understand the risk. I was like, it’s just a job,” he told us during a recent phone conversation. 

We called Philip in the midst of the controversy surrounding the new administration’s travel ban affecting nationals of seven countries, including Iraq. He had previously recorded two StoryCorps interviews, and we wanted to check back in with him to fill in some of the blanks about his life — both in Iraq and in Minnesota, to which he immigrated in 2013.

In this episode, we hear that phone call as well as Philip’s StoryCorps interviews. We learn about his time with the military, through a conversation between Philip and the U.S. Army sergeant who sponsored his immigration. And, in a conversation with his nephew, who was also an interpreter, Philip recalls his years-long struggle to reunite with his family, whom he had to leave behind in Iraq.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
Blue Dot Sessions – “Laquer Groove,” “In the Backroom,” and “The Spills”
A Ninja Slob Drew Me – “Surface Tension”
Alan Singley – “Force Lights” and “Stop the Clocks”
Alialujah Choir – “Little Picture Instrumental”