The complex application process for war translators is outrageous

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” has become a wildly popular show, a half-hour program that looks at very serious issues with a very comedic eye. The most recent episode of “Last Week Tonight” did a lengthy examination of the immigration process that translators for American soldiers in the Middle East have to go through.

The video we linked to is about 16 minutes long, and for nearly all of it, you will feel a bit of outrage. These translators literally save lives by giving American soldiers English translations of critical information in war zones — and they put their own lives on the line by doing so. However, they are confronted with a comically convoluted visa application process when they try to move to the U.S.

On top of all of this, numerous visa programs relating to Iraqi and Afghan people who are translating for U.S. soldiers have expired or are expected to expire shortly. Obviously, this is a major problem, but it seems even less so when you consider that in 2011 only three (yes, three) visas were handed out to Afghan nationals under the program, even though the program allowed for up to 1,500 to be handed out per year.

Again, the complicated nature of these programs and the lack of clarity about the visa process is what causes these tremendously brave people to lose out on truly vital and life-saving visas. This process needs to be simplified, like many immigration protocols here in the U.S., and we can only hope that in the near future such a reality comes to be.

Source: YouTube, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Translators (HBO),” Accessed Oct. 21, 2014