Immigration

The U.K. Is Accelerating Resettlement Efforts for Afghan Interpreters. The U.S. Should Do the Same.

Time is running out for Afghan personnel who have aided U.S. troops.

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On Monday, the British Ministry of Defense announced that it would expedite the relocation of Afghan staff who had assisted British troops during military campaigns in the country, as well as their family members. Most of those people worked as interpreters, helping British soldiers traverse Afghanistan with their knowledge of the local language and customs. 

"We owe a debt of gratitude to our interpreters and other locally employed staff who risked their lives working alongside UK forces in Afghanistan," said Defense Secretary Ben Wallace in a statement. "As we withdraw our Armed Forces, it is only right we accelerate the relocation of those who may be at risk of reprisals."

This latest move speeds up the implementation of a program established in April, which grants Afghans currently and previously employed by the British government priority relocation assistance, provided they are "at serious risk of threat to life." Interpreters and other workers qualify for this support regardless of rank, employment status, or length of time served. Less urgent cases are still eligible for routine relocation

The announcement comes amid growing concerns about dangers posed to Afghans as U.S. and NATO troops withdraw from the country ahead of September 11. Taliban attacks have surged as the international military presence has dwindled, and interpreters are desirable targets, given their ties to foreign parties. 

The U.K. government has already resettled more than 1,360 Afghan workers and their families and has plans to welcome over 3,000 more people through the expedited processing. Many interpreters have been waiting several years to receive a visa, and the U.K. program is an acknowledgment that their time is running out. 

The U.S. should take note. The American immigration pathway for interpreters, the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) for Afghans, is deeply dysfunctional. Slow processing times have left interpreters and their family members—nearly 70,000 people—waiting for visas. Many who qualify for SIVs won't get them because of government errors. And unlike the U.K. scheme, hopeful Afghan immigrants must have completed at least two years of service to be eligible for the U.S. visa. 

To their credit, some U.S. officials are attempting to address this problem. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters last week that the Defense Department and State Department were exploring evacuation options for Afghan interpreters. Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R–Ill.) and Earl Blumenauer (D–Ore.) have introduced a bill that, if passed, would allocate 4,000 more visas for interpreters. Several senators have called for faster visa processing. 

But those measures may all be too little, too late. Interpreters have long been subject to Taliban death threats—threats that have been realized for hundreds of Afghans and their family members. Without quick action, these allies face unspeakable horrors. The U.S. must implement the U.K.'s approach immediately. 

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  1. >>would expedite the relocation of Afghan staff who had assisted British troops

    to Londonistan? no, gracias.

    1. While LondoniStan is rapidly becoming a shit hole, Kabul is a complete hell hole.

      Those interpreters will be 1000 times better off in London then they would be in Kabul

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  2. The visa process for afghan interpreters is nearly impossible. Imagine dealing with the most obtuse form of government bureaucracy you’ve ever encountered, but with the added complication of having to travel incognito to make appointments, lack of electricity or office equipment to make photocopies or transmit documents, and doing all of this while keeping yourself and your family hidden from the many taliban sympathizers and informants around you who want you dead.

    I’ve given sworn statements for at least half a dozen interpreters, and given a lot more hands on help for two from Afghanistan. Luckily for them one of the wives had a real soft spot for them and was able to assist them in navigating the State Dept. red tape. The ones who have made it to the US were the ones who spoke the best English and were able to commit to living near the US embassy in Kabul. The ones who already had families, or weren’t as proficient in written english, or were too proud to ask for the intense help needed are still in Afghanistan, in hiding. The visa process is not weeding out security threats or picking the ones most in danger. It is purely arbitrary red tape.

    1. In summary, you aided traitors to their own country.

      1. If we give them a visa, then no, they weren’t traitors to their own country, they were helping their country. But I guess being a cheerleader for the Taliban takes a toll and you miss details like that.

  3. Sure. Prioritize them over other refugees or diversity lotto winners.

    1. Agree, but are we also bringing back each ‘terp’s extended family? And if so, how many are getting to come here?

  4. We must close the interpreter gap!

    1. We must reinterpret out policy!

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  6. Well they are learning something that every libritarian already knew. Never under any circumstance trust or help the goverment

  7. If I was a local person, or warlord, I would think twice about helping the U S.

    Our Hmong allies in Vietnam and our Kurd allies in Syria were both abandoned when no longer useful.

    Now it is the turn of our Afghan interpreters.
    It seems to me that the USA is a fair weather ally when you are a local tribesman.

  8. Sheesh, they should chill down on interfering with global affairs. There is too much going on around here.

  9. Another disgraceful black eye for America! they should all come back with the soldiers.

    1. I’ve given sworn statements for at least half a dozen interpreters, and given a lot more hands on help for two from Afghanistan. Luckily for them one of the wives had a real soft spot for them and was able to assist them in navigating the State Dept. red tape. The ones who have made it to the US were the ones who spoke the best English and were able to commit to living near the US embassy in Kabul. The ones who already had families, or weren’t as proficient in written english, or were too proud to ask for the intense help needed are still in Afghanistan,
      https://wapexclusive.com , in hiding. The visa process is not weeding out security threats or picking the ones most in danger. It is purely arbitrary red tape.

  10. The US should have been the first to evacuate Afghan interrupters but it is now to late and all these will be murdered. Yet at the same time Biden is allowing millions of people into the US from south of the border. Some of those coming in on the southern border are from many other places other than just centeral and south america and has done nothing to aid the US in its attempt to wipe out the Taliban who had enslaved Afghanistan. So in the end he will be responsible for the murder of all these that the Taliban murders. He and the US is NOT responsible for the people coming to the US since it is not the US that put these people in danger of being killed if the are fleeing for their lives. Most is coming to the US because they know that will be better off financially.

  11. I’ve given sworn statements for at least half a dozen interpreters, and given a lot more hands on help for two from Afghanistan. Luckily for them one of the wives had a real soft spot for them and was able to assist them in navigating the State Dept. red tape. The ones who have made it to the US were the ones who spoke the best English and were able to commit to living near the US embassy in Kabul. The ones who already had families, or weren’t as proficient in written english, or were too proud to ask for the intense help needed are still in Afghanistan, in hiding. The visa process is not weeding out security threats or picking the ones most in danger. It is purely arbitrary red tape. https://wapexclusive.com

  12. The American immigration pathway is deeply dysfunctional, period.

    While I’m not for completely Open Borders, I feel that the American immigration pathway is way to restrictive, unnecessarily complex and difficult.

    I want to know who is immigrating, if they are sick, have a violent past or have criminal intentions. The entire process should take less than a week. Illegal immigration would dwindle under these conditions, so any remaining illegal immigration should be strictly enforced.

    There should not be any quotas imposed. Refugees should not be placed into huge communities of refugees, but rather in to smaller communities of refugees spread out across the country.

    History demonstrates that assimilation occurs when communities are engaged with each other rather than isolated into their separate groups. The influx of large groups are largely seen as a threat, where smaller groups more of a novelty by the existing community.

    A balance point between too small and too large so newcomers feel the support of their community, but not so large to integrate and associate with the oldtimers.

    The US should streamline the American immigration pathway for every one, but as time is of the essence they should streamline the process for the Afghan Interpreters who assisted the US over the last 20 years. These Afghan Interpreters are very likely to become targets once we leave.

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