— VOA Learning English (@VOALearnEnglish) August 3, 2021
A key term here is “SIV,” which stands for “Special Immigrant Visa.” I went to the State Department website with the idea to do a deep dive into this SIV business, but I got lost in the bureaucratic Esperanto and had to give up.
I did at least learn, though, that there are two distinct visa programs in play here:
The State Department website, which is aimed at people applying for these visas, carefully cautions you to know which visa you’re applying for. The first category there talks of numbers of visas in the thousands and tens of thousands; the second one, if I haven’t mis-read the Esperanto, is limited to fifty visas a year.
The whole issue is further complicated by:
- The Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2021, i ntroduced May 25th this year in the House, to “extend and modify the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program, to postpone the medical exam for aliens who are otherwise eligible for such program, to provide special immigrant status for certain surviving spouses and children, and for other purposes.” A far as I can figure, this bill is on hold in the House Judiciary Committee.
- Litigation filed in the D.C. federal court under the title: Afghan and Iraqi Allies Under Serious Threat Because of Their Faithful Service to the United States, on Their Own and on Behalf of Others Similarly Situated, et al. v. Blinken, et a l. Blinken there is of course our Secretary of State. There have been rulings and judgments and appeals…I have no idea what the current status is, or how it has affected, is affecting, or will affect visa numbers.
As you can see, the matter of visas for Afghans wanting to settle in the U.S.A. under some claim to having helped our war effort is deep and tangled in both legislation and litigation. You could get a Ph.D. in this stuff, if you had a lot more patience than I have.
Casting around for something I could understand, something giving actual numbers, I found this excellent piece by Daniel Greenfield over at FrontPageMag.com, title: ‘Saving Afghan Interpreters’ is a Scam That Would Bring 100,000 Afghans to U.S.[July 23, 2021]
When the media claims that we’re leaving Afghan interpreters to die, it’s lying. There are few actual interpreters actually applying for SIVs. The vast majority of applicants were just making money from the U.S.
On the other side are stories like this one from Chad Robichaux over at American Greatness. Robichaux is described as “a former Force Recon Marine and Defense Department contractor with eight deployments to Afghanistan as part of a Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) Task Force.” He writes very eloquently of combat operations he was engaged in, helped by an Afghan interpreter he calls “Bashir.”
This Bashir, Robichaux tells us, saved many American lives and was unfailingly loyal to our troops there. Yet now he’s a Taliban target, in peril of his life:
He has been on the move with his wife and kids, relocating daily to stay safe. He has tried multiple times to get out, but for years the special immigrant visa process has been broken and now the U.S. embassy in Kabul is closed “due to Covid.”
Abandoning Allies Is Current American Policy, August 7, 2021
Robichaux and his former teammates have raised $80,000 to help Bashir move to a safe country with a U.S. embassy where he can apply for asylum.
Has Chad Robichaux made up the Bashir story? Well:
- I would be very wary about saying so in his presence or anywhere near it: his American Greatness byline also tells us he is a former professional mixed martial arts (MMA) champion; and
- In the nature of our operations over there, there must have been a lot of actual Bashirs. There are many private efforts under way by our servicepeople and veterans to help these Afghans get out. Our newspapers have been running stories about them] [‘I’ll Never Forget You’: Veterans Push to Get Afghan Partners in War to the U.S., by Jennifer Steinhauer and John Ismay , NYT, July 22, 2021].
How many of those latter cases, the Bashirs, could there be? Not just Afghans who helped us unload a truck one weekend, but people who provided long spells of meritorious service in our cause, and can be identified and solidly vouched for by our people who worked with them?
I would guess a few hundred; certainly not tens of thousands.
So, what to make of all this? Are we handing out SIVs like candy with, by Daniel Greenfield’s count, a hundred thousand Afghans on their way to permanent settlement here? Or are we, as Chad Robichaux tells us, stiffing a few hundred Afghans who believed in our mission and put their lives on the line to help us?
My guess would be: both. Our immigration system is so intractably FUBAR, I’m perfectly ready to believe that we are letting in for settlement tens of thousands we shouldn’t while denying entry to a few hundred Bashirs to whom, as a matter of national honor, we should be willing to grant settlement.
Sound advice to Bashir, in fact, would be to get the heck out of Afghanistan, take a plane to Ecuador, and hike up through Central America to the U.S. border with all the rest of the Third World, who are chanting as they hike “We don’t need no steenkin’ visas.”
If we had a competent federal bureaucracy we’d sort out the Bashirs and give them settlement visas, then try to help the other hundred thousand applicants relocate to Muslim countries.
To neighboring stans, in fact, of which there is a good supply: Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and not forgetting Turkmenistan … [Opening bars of the Turkmen national anthem.] … yeah, yeah, thanks, guys. As well as having that friendly “stan” in their names, there is considerable ethnic overlap across the borders: Balochs and Pashtuns in Pakistan; Tajiks in Tajikistan; Turkmens and Uzbeks in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan etc.
If we had a competent federal bureaucracy, we could sort it all out.
And, I was going to add, if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle; but I’m not sure that’s any longer true …
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