Helping the ‘Terps
I’ve been thinking for months about starting this blog, but one of the things that really got me moving was a recent comment on a bill that increased the number of Iraqi and Afghani translators and interpreters allowed into the United States. Our service members call them “‘terps” for short.
Whether you’re good, bad, or indifferent on our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s no question that local people working with our military are doing quite a service. Sure, the money may be good compared to their options, but my guess is that they’re motivated at least in part by the ideals that our country stands for. They do it at risk to their own lives, of course, and the lives of their families.
In January 2006, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 created a special immigrant visa (“SIV”) for Iraqi and Afghan translators working with the U.S. military. But only 50 per year. Just 50. Last year, Public Law 110-36 expanded that number to 500 per year for two years. That lasts until October of this year, when the number will go back to 50.
I don’t know what the exact number should be, or all the answers on refugees. Here’s what caught my eye, though, from the comments on Public Law 110-36:
I am a United States Army NCO and I whole heartedly support the SIV Program. I have already sponsored 5 from Afghanistan, 2 already here and 3 more waiting for quota slots to open. I’ve gotten both here on the ground their green cards, SSAN [ed. SSN?], and jobs… they have since moved out of my house to make room for my next 3 and they are doing great. Most of the “TERPS” have friends who will sponsor them at their own expense (like myself) and the government need not spend anything. It’s just the right thing to do for those who have helped us…
We know what servicemember pay is like. We know that members of our military are already discharging their patriotic duty. But here’s an NCO who goes even further and gives space in his home to people in need, people who have already served the U.S., and who want to live a little bit of the American dream.
Why does he help them? “It’s just the right thing to do . . .”
Americans like this make me proud to be an American.