Freed Iraqi says America 'the greatest' after detention at NYC airport

NEW YORK (AP) An Iraqi who was detained overnight at a New York City airport because of President Donald Trump's ban on refugees from certain Muslim nations has called America "the land of freedom" after being released from custody.

Hameed Khalid Darweesh (center) was detained at New York's JFK airport as a result of new immigration policies.

Hameed Khalid Darweesh worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army when it invaded Iraq in 2003. Later he was a contract engineer for the U.S.

He was granted permission to relocate to the U.S., but was detained along with another traveler from Iraq after arriving at Kennedy Airport Friday night.

Lawyers petitioned a federal court early Saturday to let them go. Two Democratic U.S. Representatives, Nydia Velazquez and Jerrold Nalder, were at the airport trying to get 11 other detainees released.

After he was freed Saturday, Darweesh told a waiting crowd that "America is the greatest nation, the greatest people in the world."