Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My kind of Legal Immigration

An Afghan interpreter who earned a hard-fought visa after saving the life of a U.S. soldier who took up his cause is now helping others settle in America under a program critics say falls short of repaying foreign linguists who risk their lives to help the military.
Janis Shinwari settled last fall in northern Virginia, near the home of former Army Intelligence Officer Matt Zeller, who helped him move to the U.S. through the Special Immigrant Visas program. Shinwari, who became marked for death as a collaborator in his homeland, is now seen as something of a folk hero to other Afghan translators fighting the U.S. bureaucracy to enter the U.S.
“Hundreds have reached out to me," Shinwari told "I can't even keep count. They find me on Facebook, or call, every day and every night. They heard how I was helped by Matt and ask if we can help them, too.” 
Their stories haunt Shinwari, who understands both the reality of Taliban death threats and the ordeal of diplomatic red tape. One former translator whose own escape from Afghanistan was every bit as harrowing and dramatic as Shinwairi's, is staying with his family in Shinwari's cramped apartment.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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