Let the (Afghan and Iraqi) Translators Come!
So, I want to start off by saying, it’s been a turbulent past few days, hasn’t it? A little while ago, President Trump signed an executive order which bars citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for three months, suspends the admission of all refugees to America for around four and indefinitely suspends the admission of Syrian refugees until further notice. As you can imagine, people have not taken this well. Here are my thoughts.
One, this order hurts a group of people whom America and other western powers owe a tremendous debt to, translators who worked for the coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan. As those two conflicts “wound down”, western politicians (justifiably) created special immigration programs to allow these people to leave their troubled lands for safety in the nations whom they once worked for on the battlefield.
In America, Congress passed a law in 2006 that provided thousands of visas for these individuals, Canada created something similar in 2009 and in Britain, officials there are simply deporting them to likely death back in Afghanistan, a classy move from the land of James Bond.
Unfortunately, the United States and Canada have joined the U.K. in this shameful abandonment. According to reporting from the CBC, the Canadian government rejected two out of every three applications by interpreters to come to the “open and diverse” north in 2011. In America, The Washington Post reported in 2014 that the Obama State Department was denying Afghan applicants because they didn’t face a “serious threat” in increasingly unstable Afghanistan. How?
Sadly, things don’t look to change any time soon. As of April 2016, the program to welcome these incredibly brave people to Canada has closed and, with the U.K. and U.S. firmly controlled by rightists who have long advocated for stricter immigration, things don’t look likely to improve in the “Land of the Free” or across the pond either. Such closure is disgusting.
So, you may be wondering dear reader, what is it that you can do to get involved with this issue? Well, for starters you can call your Congressman and Senator (Though a very wise man once told me that going to their offices in person is a far more effective tactic.) volunteer for nooneleft.org, an organization started by a U.S. veteran that helps those lucky enough to receive a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) re-settle in the United States and adjust to the new culture or, there’s always good old-fashioned protest, as long as it’s the safe and non-violent kind mind you.
It’s easy to say that we shouldn’t take these people in, that our own nations have problems that should be focused on first and that the programs are ripe for abuse, but that’s wrong. Much like Dr. Shakil Afridi of Pakistan and those who tipped off the U.S. military to the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein and his sons, the people have helped Canada, the U.K. and America catch more evil and bad men than one could shake a stick at. They deserve our best and its awful that they are not getting it. Trudeau, Cameron, Obama, Trump, Harper and May have blood on their hands. I hope that as things get worse for these people, the guilt compels them to act.