Recently the plight of Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who aided American troops during our wars in those countries has been highlighted in the American media. Last month NBC News ran a segment about an Afghan translator named Mohammad who has been hunted by the Taliban after he served the U.S. Marines fighting in Afghanistan. He has already paid a huge price for his assistance to the United States: the murder of his father and the abduction of his toddler brother.
His dream was to get the rest of his family out of Afghanistan and away from the threat posed by the Taliban. Thanks to legislation passed by Congress in 2008, and updated to include Afghans in 2009, 25,000 special immigrant visas (SIVs) were authorized for Iraqis who gave assistance to American troops and 7500 SIVs were allotted for Afghans who did the same. Unfortunately, so far only 6,675 Iraqis have received SIVs while 1,678 Afghans got the special visas, according to Katie Reisner, the national policy director for the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP).
Reisner claims the backlog for the many Afghanis and Iraqis seeking these special visas stems from two problems. First, the U.S. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security must perform intensive background checks to ensure each applicant does not pose a security threat to the United States. Second, the special visa program was developed in a fashion that did not emphasize sufficient coordination with other governmental agencies. The result is that thousands of applicants wait in a bureaucratic morass which takes years to navigate.
The USCIS requires that, in order to obtain a green card as an Iraqi or Afghan translator – whether you live inside or outside the United States – you must first file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. Often these translators file these forms at the American Embassies in those 2 countries.
The Shulman Law Group, LLC has successfully handled and effectuated many special immigrant (SIV) cases. The firm and its staff are well-versed in the nuances and underpinnings of the particular claims of persecution involving individuals from the two countries. What sets our firm apart from other law offices is that we skillfully prepare comprehensive applications that include country reports, autobiographical statements, affidavits from friends, family and colleagues, psychological evaluations, and expert witness testimonials–strategies that predispose the applicant to a higher probability of an approval.