The Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) is a program passed by Congress in the the dark of night in 2007 spearheaded by Senator Ted Kennedy, here is a document explaining how those who supposedly helped the US in the Iraq war, and their families, can get into the US where they will reap all the benefits refugees receive (welfare etc.). Here is a description of the Afghan SIV program.
You might want to see our previous post about one Afghan interpreter and his family arrested in New York.
From the Seattle Times (hat tip: ‘pungentpeppers’):
Thousands of Afghans who have served as U.S. military interpreters and who now fear for their lives are waiting in limbo to hear about their applications to move to the U.S. Though Congress authorized 8,750 visas for Afghan interpreters, only 1,982 had been issued through Dec. 10.
Stars of the Seattle Times story say they have already proven their loyalty to America and now want the US to “return the favor.”
For Nazari, who has worked for the U.S. military since 2006, years of waiting have left him confused and demoralized — and at risk of retaliation from insurgents who he says know what he does.
“We’re living in the 21st century,” Nazari said, speaking flawless English while sipping tea at a Kabul guesthouse. “If the State Department wants to find out if I’m a bad guy or a terrorist, just check their computer databases. It should take five minutes, not five years.”
Sardar Khan, 26, who has translated for the U.S. military since 2007, said he has waited nearly two years for a decision on his SIV application. He jokes that he and other applicants have “SIV syndrome” from constantly checking a State Department website for updates on their cases.
“We have already proved our honesty and loyalty to the United States,” Khan said. “All we ask now is for the United States to return the favor.”
US State Department says they are speeding things up, but are apparently still haunted by those Iraqi refugee terrorists convicted in Kentucky.
Jarrett Blanc, deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said the State Department improved its processing times last year and has issued more Afghan interpreter visas during the latest fiscal year than in any previous year, a tenfold increase over 2012. In the last three months of the fiscal year that ended Oct. 1, he said, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued more interpreter visas than in the previous four years.
The department has also begun an appeals process for interpreters turned down at the embassy level, sped up the visa process for approved applicants and is doing more to spread word about the SIV program.
“We are committed to helping those who — at great personal risk — have helped us,” Blanc said.
Officials are concerned that Afghans with ties to insurgents or terrorists will slip through the vetting process. The 2011 arrests of two Iraqi refugees in Kentucky on terrorism charges slowed the visa process, though neither had been an interpreter. [Of course, now we can expect the vetting process to be relaxed!—ed]
The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project calls the SIV process “prohibitively complicated, bureaucratic and opaque.” The group, which also assists Afghans, says more than 5,000 Afghan applicants are backlogged. It says only 6,675 of the 25,000 visas authorized for Iraqi interpreters have been issued.
In December, Congress extended the Iraq SIV program through Sept. 30, but failed to extend the Afghan program, which expires Sept. 30.
To readers: The next time you hear someone say I oppose illegal immigration, but legal immigration is a good thing, know that they don’t know what they are talking about!