A commenter asked me:
Have you seen this about the Iraqi translator that was denied a US visa? I'm wondering what your take on this sort of thing is.
I have no knowledge about consular or visa matters in general, much less this case in particular, so I looked up the State Department's publicly available description of the visa program under which the Iraqi translator applied.
He applied for a very narrow category of Special Immigrant Visa, for which he evidently is qualified. His problem was that in order to be approved for an SIV he also had to meet the regular admissibility requirements for an immigrant to the United States. The translator's criminal record makes him generally inadmissible, so his request for an SIV was denied.
U.S. immigration law seems reasonably clear on the matter of criminal records. The news reports I've seen often confused the SIV program for Iraqi and Afghan translators with the more generous programs for refugees who fear persecution, however, there are big differences. This comparison explains the differences, one of which is that SIV applicants:
Must be otherwise eligible to receive an immigrant visa and [be] otherwise admissible to the U.S. for permanent residence, except in determining such admissibility, the grounds for inadmissibility specified in section 212 (A)(4) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1182 (a)(4) relating to "public charge" shall not apply).
It has been alleged that the translator was denied an SIV out of some personal pique or bias against him by U.S. embassy personnel in Baghdad, but I very much doubt that was the case. The State Department has no choice but to implement the immigration laws that Congress passed and the President signed.
So, what can the translator in question do now? He might be able to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility by arguing that his crime of stealing Uday Hussein's car shouldn't be held against him [personally, I'd give him a waiver just for having had the stones to do that]. Or, possibly, he might reapply under the refugee visa program on grounds that he has a reasonable fear of persecution due to his affliation with the U.S. government.
The 'fear of persecution' angle is working for Aunt Zeituni, our KAOPOTUS, why shouldn't it work for one of our Iraqi translators as well?