Visas for translators

One of the things the US administration and Congress is really good at is grandstanding when the media is around to take note. Take for example, the rapidity with which the US government arranged for the visa for the Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng and the moves by congress to fast-track US citizenship for the Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi who aided the CIA in its search for Osama bin Laden.

But the US moves excruciatingly slowly when it comes to fulfilling its promises to low-level people such as the translators in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan who are in real danger as a result of helping the US. These people actually risk their lives on a daily basis and were promised safe passage out of the country in return for their services. But because they are anonymous, their cases proceed at a glacial pace, if at all. According to this NPR report, “In 2009, the U.S. Congress recognized the growing danger and authorized a visa program for Afghans under threat because they’ve assisted American forces. The Taliban regularly makes threats to behead anyone who works with the U.S. Four thousand four hundred seventy-two Afghan have applied for the visa. Somehow, only seven visas have been granted so far.” [My italics-MS]

Suspicions have been raised that the US does not want to lose the services of these translators and so is dragging out the process even if could result in them being killed. After all, who really cares about the deaths of poor Iraqis and Afghans?


  1. left0ver1under says

    By collateral, do you mean money? The wealthy who have collateral (e.g. Rupert Murdoch) get a fast-tracked naturalization.

    The poor can’t make themselves noticed or heard, so they’re labelled “terrorists” and left to die.

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