We are failing in our moral obligation to our loyal
translators from Iraq and Afghanistan:
Congress has authorized 6,500 visas per year — 5,000 for Iraqis, 1,500 for Afghans — since the program was first passed into law. The State Department has instead only issued around 200 each year or twelve percent to Afghans who applied. Iraqis have fared slightly better at some 1,100 visas per year.
Now to make matters much worse, the chances of any of the Iraqis who bravely fought and served alongside have now dropped to approximately zero thanks to Congress. The SIV program needed to be reauthorized by October 1 to ensure that it would continue; with the impasse in the House and Senate over spending, it seems unlikely that the two will come together to pass an extension. The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act included that extension, as well as much needed improvements to the program’s structure, but that measure has been stalled as well.
Today, my unit's translator lives in Sweden. I wonder if I will ever see him again.
Insha'Allah, I will.