In a war zone the help of accurate translation can mean the difference between life and death. Over the last decade good translators in Iraq and Afghanistan have saved countless American lives. Every war recruited people who were fluent in whatever language that was spoken by the enemy and this war was no different except in the compensation department. It seems that the United States has failed to thank our translators abroad and at home. Why did things go more smoothly after other wars in the past?
Ask any veteran and they will tell you that translators risk their own lives and are responsible for the accurate translation of locations and enemy doings. At times our helpers are found out and must leave quickly for their safety. That is the time when it is our turn to help them. America is failing these people. It has been known that a shocking number of Visas have been stuck in bureaucratic limbo for these most valued foreigners. Why can’t we get these people safely to our country?
There is no reason for the delays. Congress passed Bills in 2008 and 2009 providing thousands of Special Immigrant Visas to local nationals who worked with the United States Military but despite huge demand , very few were issued. Why? Must America be a complete embarrassment? Through the Afghanistan Bill we could have given out 1500 Visas per year. In 2011 we only gave out three. The number of Afghans who risked their lives for us should not be so low that relatively stupid toddlers could count them all.
Things have improved slightly thanks to specials interest groups like The List Project putting pressure on our government to move their asses and help these Allies. It should not be nearly impossible to help our Allies. They should have immediate help because they are an essential part of our team. The State Department puts blame on the applicants themselves. To apply for a special Immigrant Visa is a 14 step process which is a ridiculously lot of paper work since they should be just whisked to safety somewhere.
Getting off Heroin is only a 12 step process. After filling out a slew of proof of employment forms known as a DS-157 you must wait up to a year for that to be processed then if you are still alive there is the Petition Stage where you need the I-360 form to bring with the other forms to a interview at the Embassy which they have stopped scheduling lately. The program is scheduled to expire at the end of the year anyway. Should we still be proud to be American at this point?
Giving some hope is the DX-260 form which asks why you wish to come to the United States. Well right now they are running away from ISIS too. The form asks if you are intending to practice polygamy. Is there really time here to discuss one’s sex life? You are almost done with the paper work that is after you get the Visa interview, medical examination, security clearance and paying out of pocket for Passports, vaccinations and plane tickets, you get to maybe come to America.
America has done this much better before. After the Vietnam War they settled 140,000 refugees in just 4 months. Then we took people quickly to a safe place like Guam and in safety processed them for entry to America. Why aren’t we giving good people a safe haven somewhere? Where are the Egyptians that Bush likes to save after 911 and hold hands with? Some Afghanistan refugees have been waiting three years to come to America and during that waiting period they are witnessing their families getting murdered.
Visas have already expired in Iraq and Afghanistan is scheduled to expire their program December 31. No wonder our soldiers return in deep depressions having to leave good people who kept them alive behind.