WWS Blog

Trump Must Make a Linguist Exception for Special Immigration Visas

Feb 1, 2017
Published by:
Michael Kelvington MPA '17

Michael Kelvington MPA '17 wrote this op-ed for Observer. He is an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army with seven deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, including with the 75th Ranger Regiment.


Our military remains globally deployed and requires specialized language and cultural skills to accomplish its mission. Much of that comes from locals serving to our benefit, asking little in return. A typical linguist in Afghanistan made the equivalent of $600-900 a month, while risking their lives on patrol with our Soldiers, only wanting a chance for a better life in the U.S. The program established in 2007 to protect and safeguard these critical allies is the Special Immigration Visas, or SIV.

As an Army Ranger, the Ranger Creed is more than just a slogan, it’s a mantra I’ve internalized. It states, “I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy.” There have been few personal life events more important to me, aside from my wedding and the birth of my children, that rank alongside the day my former linguist from Afghanistan, “Dave,” arrived in November with his family. To me, it was mission accomplished. Due to the executive order on refugees, despite their separate screening criteria, SIVs are on hold as well; however, the order also allows exemptions. Preserving the SIV program is common-sense and should be supported by the Departments of State and Homeland Security.

Continue reading at Observer; full story here.

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