The Iraqi lawyer risked his own life to lead American commandos to the hospital where Private Jessica Lynch was being held prisoner
Lynch, a 20-year-old Army supply clerk from Palestine, W.Va., was captured March 23 after her 507th Maintenance Company convoy was ambushed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. She was rescued April 1.
Ridge said the lawyer and his wife and 5-year-old daughter arrived in the United States earlier this month after Homeland Security granted them "humanitarian parole."
On Monday, the family was granted asylum by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. They can now apply for American citizenship.
"Mr. Al Rehaief should know Americans are grateful for his bravery and for his compassion," Ridge said.
Lynch suffered a head wound, spinal injury and fractures to her right arm, both legs and her right foot and ankle. She is being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.