Iraqi and Afghan Asylum Seekers Are Struggling in the U.S.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Roughly 13,000 refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan have come to the United States on special visas since 2008. Many of them provided critical assistance to the United States in their home country by working as interpreters and fixers. Men’s Journal contributing editor Paul Solotaroff has investigated the difficult route to asylum in the United States these people face and their many struggles when they finally get here. His articles "The Interpreters We Left Behind" and "Afghan Interpreters Struggle to Find a Home in the U.S." have been published in Men's Journal.



Paul Solotaroff

Comments [3]

Josh from brooklyn, ny

Mr. Lopate and Mr. Solotaroff,
Thank you for covering and following through on this very important bookend to the Iraq and Afghan wars. There are so many stories similar to Mr. Zeller and Mr. Shinwari's, I would even say thousands. Ben Anderson produced a short film here at VICE just a week or so ago which brings a visual story to the complicated issue. On top of the bureaucratic jungle these ex-terps go through in possibly securing a SIV, the only people on the US side who have an ear for these guys are not only Mr. Zeller, but the tireless work of several lawyers at the non-profit org IRAP ( They literally field calls from terps who are being hunted, thousands of miles away, somewhere in Afghanistan or Iraq. These men are heroes treated liked villains. If you have a moment, please have a look at our film:


Jul. 18 2014 01:31 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Thanks for the answer--I went to & found some good info. Leonard (or your staff), could you add a link to their site, please?

And I want to thank Mr. Solotaroff for covering this story & exposing the abandonment & mistreatment of interpreters & fixers who were promised better than this. We may oppose the war(s), but these people & their families shouldn't be left where their lives are threatened.

Jul. 17 2014 02:04 PM
Amy from Manhattan

What can we do to try to get our country to treat people who helped it in their own countries the way they deserve? The existing situation is shameful.

Jul. 17 2014 01:42 PM

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