Afghan SIV applicants say US government dragging its feet on visas

Special Immigrant Visa program was Sen. Ted Kennedy’s dark-of-night addition to Defense Authorization bill. Kennedy was also the power behind the Refugee Act of 1980.

The Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) is a program passed by Congress in the the dark of night in 2007 spearheaded by Senator Ted Kennedy, here is a document explaining how those who supposedly helped the US in the Iraq war, and their families, can get into the US where they will reap all the benefits refugees receive (welfare etc.).  Here is a description of the Afghan SIV program.

You might want to see our previous post about one Afghan interpreter and his family arrested in New York.

From the Seattle Times (hat tip: ‘pungentpeppers’):

Thousands of Afghans who have served as U.S. military interpreters and who now fear for their lives are waiting in limbo to hear about their applications to move to the U.S. Though Congress authorized 8,750 visas for Afghan interpreters, only 1,982 had been issued through Dec. 10.

Stars of the Seattle Times story say they have already proven their loyalty to America and now want the US to “return the favor.”

For Nazari, who has worked for the U.S. military since 2006, years of waiting have left him confused and demoralized — and at risk of retaliation from insurgents who he says know what he does.

“We’re living in the 21st century,” Nazari said, speaking flawless English while sipping tea at a Kabul guesthouse. “If the State Department wants to find out if I’m a bad guy or a terrorist, just check their computer databases. It should take five minutes, not five years.”

Sardar Khan, 26, who has translated for the U.S. military since 2007, said he has waited nearly two years for a decision on his SIV application. He jokes that he and other applicants have “SIV syndrome” from constantly checking a State Department website for updates on their cases.

“We have already proved our honesty and loyalty to the United States,” Khan said. “All we ask now is for the United States to return the favor.”

Convicted Iraqi refugee terrorists got through old screening system and yet Obama now makes it even easier to get through!

US State Department says they are speeding things up, but are apparently still haunted by those Iraqi refugee terrorists convicted in Kentucky.

Jarrett Blanc, deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said the State Department improved its processing times last year and has issued more Afghan interpreter visas during the latest fiscal year than in any previous year, a tenfold increase over 2012. In the last three months of the fiscal year that ended Oct. 1, he said, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued more interpreter visas than in the previous four years.

The department has also begun an appeals process for interpreters turned down at the embassy level, sped up the visa process for approved applicants and is doing more to spread word about the SIV program.

“We are committed to helping those who — at great personal risk — have helped us,” Blanc said.

Officials are concerned that Afghans with ties to insurgents or terrorists will slip through the vetting process. The 2011 arrests of two Iraqi refugees in Kentucky on terrorism charges slowed the visa process, though neither had been an interpreter.  [Of course, now we can expect the vetting process to be relaxed!—ed]

The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project calls the SIV process “prohibitively complicated, bureaucratic and opaque.” The group, which also assists Afghans, says more than 5,000 Afghan applicants are backlogged. It says only 6,675 of the 25,000 visas authorized for Iraqi interpreters have been issued.

In December, Congress extended the Iraq SIV program through Sept. 30, but failed to extend the Afghan program, which expires Sept. 30.

To readers:  The next time you hear someone say I oppose illegal immigration, but legal immigration is a good thing, know that they don’t know what they are talking about!

Iraqi refugee charged in explosion of IED at Arizona Social Security Office….

…..but, it’s too sensitive to charge him with acts of terrorism!

*** See updates to this story linked below***

That is what Patrick Poole reported yesterday at Pajamas Media, here.   (Hat tip: Judy)

The typically quiet town of Casa Grande, Arizona, was rocked by an explosion at the local Social Security Administration office early Friday morning of what appears to an improvised explosive device (IED). No one was hurt in the explosion, which occurred shortly before the office was scheduled to open. The explosion was reportedly heard and felt all over the area.

While the little town of Casa Grande and the nearby Phoenix area are talking about the incident, virtually no one else is. In fact, the only reason I was following the story is because I’m presently in the area and saw the initial reports on the explosion and continued to look into it .

Within 90 minutes of the explosion, police had a suspect in custody. But you wouldn’t know it from reading the establishment media reports this past weekend. One reason might be that the suspect is 47-year-old Abdullatif Aldosary of Coolidge, AZ, an Iraqi refugee.

On Friday, federal agents served a search warrant on his home. Aldosary has been on the radar of the Department of Homeland Security for at least the past couple of years.

Late Sunday afternoon, I confirmed with a source at the Phoenix FBI office that the case is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism. The source said that Aldosary is expected to be charged with a host of federal and state explosives and arson charges.

But, hold on!  All that has changed as Poole reports in an update to his original post.

…..the FBI is saying very little and and will prosecute this as a simple explosives and arson case because of “the political sensitivities involved.”

Why so sensitive?  Because the whole Refugee Resettlement Program was put on hold for Iraqis when the two Iraqi refugee terrorists were arrested in Kentucky in June 2011.   As a consequence, we were told that new security measures had been put in place and supposedly earlier Iraqi arrivals were being rescreened!  And now the flow of Iraqis to the US has begun to reach its normal high levels.   Oops!  Guess they missed one.

Now for your chuckle of the day.  Poole also reported that the Daily Kos first blamed the bombing on rightwingers.

But, get this, last week in the tiny town of Sharpsburg, MD, the state police and the FBI put on a massive “manhunt” for a guy who had a few guns and a two-decades-old marijuana conviction.  The guy on the political right hadn’t threatened anyone or shot or bombed anyone, yet 150 officers took part in a massive raid on his home.  Read all about it, here.

Why the double standard?  The Arizona bombing doesn’t fit the narrative of the Obama Administration or its media groupies.  And, I am convinced the Administration is just itching for a “gun nut” to take a shot at authorities so they can make their case that it’s not Muslims we have to worry about but Christian rightwingers.

Update (sort of):  It is actually an earlier story on the Arizona arrest.

Update December 4th:  See my post attempting to answer the question, so why wasn’t this guy deported when he committed prior criminal acts.

Update December 5th:  Debbie Schlussel has more, here.  A news story Debbie has linked indicates he was appointed a woman lawyer—bet that really pleased him (Not!).

Update December 7th:  Aldosary’s citizenship had been rejected due to “terrorism-related activity.”  (See the latest, here)