President Donald Trump’s executive order on halting refugee admissions took effect on Friday night, and now certain U.S. veterans groups are concerned about the ramifications of the order.
Army veteran Matt Zeller, who is a co-founder of No One Left Behind, has qualms over how foreign interpreters who helped American troops in war will be treated.
“With today’s Executive Order, the President has shut the door on thousands of foreign interpreters, our wartime allies, who served alongside our military since 2001,” Zeller said in a statement.
A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Zeller has been pushing hard to obtain granted approval for his Afghan translator, Janis, to be admitted into the U.S. “As you know, without Janis, my Afghan translator, I would not be speaking to you today. I would have been killed by two Taliban fighters in the hills of Afghanistan and not fighting for interpreters’ rights today,” Zeller further added.
Since Trump’s temporary ban includes Afghanistan and Iraq War translators, Zeller is troubled that the interpreters will have to “fend for themselves against the very enemies we asked them to help us fight.”
More commentary Zeller made to The Hill can be read below:
“An indefinite ban on Iraqi refugees leaves countless thousands to be hunted for their service to the United States. We now fail to keep our country’s promise to these Iraqi allies who’ve waited patiently for years for their visas… Our credibility will be forever neutered if not eroded. Why would any potential ally ever trust America to keep its word again? It pains me to think how many US soldiers will now die in future wars because we couldn’t recruit the local support that is often the difference between life and death.
This action imposes a lifetime moral injury on our Afghan and Iraq war veterans. Vietnam Veterans speak often of their half-century injury at having abandoned so many of our Vietnamese allies. Today, the President has cast the same injury onto the newest generation of American veterans.”
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