Friday, September 27, 2013

Foreign American Allies Live in Fear After Being Denied Their Rightly Earned U.S. Visas

     After reading this article, I was, simply put, appalled. Janis Shinwari, an Afghan man living in Afghanistan, put his life and the lives of his wife and kids on the line for another country (the United States) and instead of being rewarded, he was instead forced to go into hiding. Unfortunately though, this article detailing Shinwari’s futile attempts to attain his rightly earned US visa is not about an isolated case. Interpreters like Shinwari, and others who aid American forces are granted U.S. visas by law. However, this process is markedly slow and while visas are under review, people like Shinwari are living in countries in the face of war and threats on their lives. Because of this, Matt Zeller, a United States army captain, is fighting to bring Shinwari, an Afghan who literally saved Zeller’s life in combat, to the United States.
     In fact, it’s almost pathetic that Zeller spent two years going after Congress, speaking to the media, and starting a petition only for nothing to change. This raises the question of just how many other foreigners who aided the US military are still living in fear in their native countries if such high media profile can’t even help expedite the visa process.
     On the flip side, though, I can understand the Department of State’s hesitation to hand out visas. But conversely, it is pathetic when this hesitation causes an ally to uproot his own life because he wasn’t granted a promised visa. No matter what the reasons for Afghans such as Shinwari to help the U.S. military by putting their own lives on the line, their sacrifice to a country that’s not even their own is more than worthy of a citizenship status.

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