Joe Coon, an Iraq War veteran, writes in the Oregonian about the struggle he went through to get his former interpreter and close friend, Bandar, safely to the United States on a Special Immigrant Visa. Far beyond following the simple steps set forth in the SIV procedure guidelines, it was only through arduous paperwork, a general’s intercession, and the aid of an immigration attorney that Bandar eventually reached safety– years after initially applying.
Iraqis about to be removed from U.S. bases don’t have the luxury of waiting for years– they will be in immediate danger as soon as American troops withdraw. And as tough as the SIV process was a couple years ago, Coon points out that it is much worse now.
His message is succinct: “Congress and the Obama administration must reform the SIV program to suit reality on the ground. Anything less dishonors American soldiers and betrays those who fought beside them. “