Here’s How Holders of Special Immigrant Visas Contribute to U.S. National Security

Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), made the following statement about the sacrifices and contributions made by holders of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) on behalf of the United States and its national security:

February 3, 2017

zing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 14.5px; color: rgb(24, 57, 86); font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">“Our interpreter was like a brother to us. He risked his life, his family’s life, so we could actually work over there, and we need to get him here.”

Robert Morisseau, U.S. Marine Corps veteran

“If anyone deserves to be an American, it’s our interpreter—since he sacrificed it all for a place he’s never even set foot in.”

–Ramiro “Ram” Lopez, U.S. Marine Corps veteran

“The bravest person I’ve ever known went by the nickname Suge Knight…. A Sudanese Muslim, Suge served as my scout platoon’s interpreter during our deployment to Iraq in 2007 and 2008, and he went on every patrol and mission with us, no matter the circumstances.”

–Matt Gallagher, U.S. Army veteran

“We made a promise. We are crippling ourselves in a potential future conflict by having future local nationals refuse to help us because of our handling of the current SIV situation.”

–Andy Sliva, U.S. Marine Corps veteran

“Our Afghan interpreters are now facing the risk of life, liberty—their families are in danger. All because they did the right thing. ... And now we’re abandoning them.”

–James Miller, U.S. Marine Corps veteran

“She inspires me. … I’m so excited to see what she does for our country and the world.”

–Kelsey Campbell, U.S. Air Force veteran, speaking about her Iraqi interpreter who is now resettled in the U.S.

“Sam and Ford both have incredible stories of early ambition, self sacrifice, and service to two countries who have been a war for quite some time. They were childhood friends and saw an opportunity with the invasion of 03’ to do something for their country [Iraq]. They both signed up to be interpreters for U.S. forces almost immediately, one of them was only 17 years old at the time. I met the two of them in 2007 during my deployment to Rutbah, Iraq. Upon meeting them it was obvious they have been living with Marines for years as they had all of the gear and knew all the lingo—including how to insert an explicative in every possible sentence (as Marines do.)”

“I cannot imagine how different how raids would have been had we not had them with us. There is a lot of uncertainty in dynamic situations but they provided the clarity we desperately needed. They had a sense of the area and always knew long before us if something wasn’t right or when to be suspicious of others. They were not always allowed to be armed but took it in stride. They had to sleep and eat in the filthiest conditions but never complained. They were paid even less than us and still, we never heard a word of it. 

“I stayed in touch with both Sam and Ford and was fortunate enough to meet with them in Chicago years after I got out of the military. One is now a U.S. citizen and the other a green card holder, both were going to school. It goes without saying that these men saved American lives, they left their families for years to work with us, and deserve to have a chance at the American dream. For they are everything that make us great.”

—Doug Jackson, Marine Corps veteran

“When I was in the army, when I put on the uniform, they treated me as a brother.”

–Former Iraqi interpreter for the U.S. Army Othman Al Janabi

“We made a promise and we have to keep it. We are weaker if we don’t keep our promise to our allies.”

–Joe Jenkins, U.S. Marine Corps veteran

“I would like to see the interpreters who were beside me on every patrol I went on, get what they were promised.”

–Colt Smith, U.S. Marine Corps veteran