Author Topic: Afghan Interpreters, Others Fast-tracking to Canada  (Read 48969 times)

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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #50 on: August 10, 2010, 08:16:22 »
I wonder how this deciding committee would react if we put them under similar threat.......

Problem is they can not fathom what the threat is.
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #51 on: August 10, 2010, 09:27:18 »
Problem is they can not fathom what the threat is.
Much less figure out whether the threat the terps are facing is more than the others working for Canadians.   >:(
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #52 on: August 10, 2010, 09:29:26 »
My fear is that they will be left out hanging in the breeze when we all leave and they will pay a heavy price.  I worked with a Vietnam vet who had spent two tours in the mountains with the Green Berets.  He said he always felt badly that promises were made to these people and they were deserted when the US left, with dire consequences to those folks.  My Terps became my friends and I would hate to see them or their families get hurt if we let them down too.

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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #53 on: September 26, 2010, 05:52:46 »
The latest via the Canadian Press - highlights mine:
Quote
Canadian soldiers had just arrived in Kandahar province in 2006 when a local interpreter — everyone knew him simply as Max — took some shrapnel to his left eye from a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade.

The attack came during Operation Medusa, one of the bloodiest of the war. The driver sitting in front of Max was killed in the blast; the two soldiers riding with him were also injured.

Max, who cannot be identified because he continues to help Canadian troops bridge the language cap with local villagers, was evacuated to the base at Kandahar Airfield, where he underwent emergency surgery, with at least one follow-up operation.

His left eye still bears the scars of that battle.

And yet Max has twice been turned down in his efforts to immigrate to Canada under a new fast-track program for Afghans who face "extraordinary personal risk" because of their work with the mission in Kandahar.

"The first time, they said I was missing one piece of paper," Max said in an interview. The second time, they said he did not qualify.

"They denied me. I don't know why."

(....)

.... 10 months from the July pullout date, only about 50 of 250 applicants are "moving forward in the process," said Douglas Kellam, spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The department has fielded some 280 additional inquiries from potential applicants, he added.

"Should they all pass security, criminality and health screening, they will be accompanied to Canada by some 75 eligible family members (wives and dependent children)," Kellam said in an email response to queries.

"As with all immigration programs, not everyone who applies is approved."

Capt. Annie Djiotsa, spokeswoman for Canada's Task Force Kandahar, said approximately 6,000 interpreters have worked for the Canadian Forces throughout Afghanistan since 2006.

The job is a perilous one and has a high turnover rate, Djiotsa said ....
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #54 on: September 26, 2010, 13:06:51 »
Government bureaucracy at its finest.

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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #55 on: September 26, 2010, 15:18:06 »
"This makes absolutely no sense."

Help Canadians in combat and you are considered for immigration.  Sounds reasonable.

"We are bringing people from a different culture, society, education, and religion out of their native land,"


Such is the entire history of all Canadians (with the arguable exception of first nations, inuit).

where they can continue to contribute to the rebuilding of their nation,

Hard to do if they are dead.  There's like what, 250 applications in?  There is also the ability to help rebuild as a Canadian/Land Immigrant.  Obviously we don't want to import all talent from the country, but there's like +30,000,000 of them... Personally, I'll take a Immigrant who genuinely helped Canadian troops in Afghanistan over an Immigrant who hasn't.

here to Canada where not only they will have a serious case of culture shock, but be placed on Welfare Rolls, probably in a ghetto, all at the Taxpayers expense.  This is sheer madness.

Sheer ignorance. Stereotyping, bigoted non-sensible ranting, blowing a story out of proportion.... 

No need to reply, George Wallace.
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #56 on: September 26, 2010, 15:37:39 »
Took me a while to find out where your purple text is coming from, then I realized you're attempting to quote a post that was made over a year ago, and has since been replied to a bunch of times.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #57 on: September 26, 2010, 17:04:20 »
shamu

In all your rabid vitriol attack on me, taking words and not the whole statement, you made a biased rant and never really looked at what I was saying. 


How does this bring stability to Afghanistan?

 

This is freaking madness.  We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars in sending troops and equipment, Police advisors, Corrections Canada advisors, NGOs, OGAs, aid, etc. to Afghanistan attempting to bring stability to the Region.  The very people we are helping and benefiting and are our hope to continue this work after we are gone, are these very people Jason Kenny now wants to bring to Canada.  This makes absolutely no sense.  ................

Then again, you may want to abandon the Afghan people altogether.  Leave them without any training or infrastructure.  We aren't going to solve anything in Afghanistan by bringing all their brightest to Canada.  We will have solved nothing.
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #58 on: November 12, 2010, 17:49:41 »
Makes sense to me - this from the Canadian Press:
Quote
Ottawa may extend its fast-track immigration policy for Afghan translators who help the Canadian Armed Forces and aid workers in Kandahar if troops remain in Afghanistan beyond 2011.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Friday it would make sense to continue the program for as long as such translators work with Canadians.

"The basic principle is any Afghan whose life is at risk because they've assisted Canadian Forces or aid workers we're going to give them fair consideration for expedited immigration to Canada," Kenney said Friday.

(....)

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. We have applications in the queue we're reviewing right now. We'll focus on those first."

The application process has been slow and cumbersome.

There have been about 250 applications so far. Each has to be approved by a committee made up of officials from the departments of National Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Immigration and Citizenship.

The committee works with the International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental agency based in Kandahar.

"Partly it's because of the security situation. We have an interdepartmental committee that's asked to meet and review the applications and for a while some of the NGO's had pulled out of the region," Kenney said.

"We've been able to get that back together now and I think the process is speeding up. We're on track to receive between 150 and 200 by the time the program is over." ....
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #59 on: December 22, 2010, 10:01:43 »
Seems like someone in the contractor's office has some 'splain' to do....
Quote
A company that supplies Afghan translators for Canada's mission in Kandahar may have mistakenly raised the interpreters' hopes of emigrating to Canada, according to a newly released document.

A contingent of Canadian military and civilian officials say International Management Services, or IMS, told interpreters that their immigration papers were being considered — even though not every application was.

The officials noted the finding in a report to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which they submitted in March after spending three weeks in Kandahar reviewing applications made under a special immigration program.

The Canadian Press obtained a partially-censored copy of the report under the Access to Information Act.

The report says problems arose when an unidentified group or person contacted IMS to verify the translators' work history.

"Complications arose when (blank) contacted IMS, the prime contractor for many of the CF's interpreters and other language assistants, to confirm employment records," the report says.

"(Blank) reported that IMS, staffed in Kandahar by local nationals, informed some program applicants that they were being considered. Given that the list submitted to IMS was only of individuals that were potentially eligible, this likely raised false expectations among applicants." ....
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #60 on: September 11, 2011, 18:50:50 »
The latest:  one out of three applicants make it through the sausage machine....
Quote
Two of every three Afghans who sought refuge in Canada after risking their lives working for the military in Kandahar have been turned away, including some who worked alongside Canadian soldiers during the bloodiest days of battle.

The special-measures program was announced with much fanfare by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in the fall of 2009 and brought Canada in line with other NATO countries which had already launched similar initiatives.

It ends Monday.

Applicants had to demonstrate they faced extraordinary risk as a result of their work with Canada. Few didn't. Working as an interpreter for NATO forces in southern Afghanistan was akin to having a Taliban bull's-eye on the back of a shalwar khameez.

Stories of night letters, threatening phone calls, abductions and even hangings were part of the job. As interpreters also travelled with soldiers and diplomats, at least six were among those killed during the IED strikes that claimed 161 Canadian lives.

The other major requirement for acceptance was a bit tougher: interpreters must have worked for Canada for 12 consecutive months between October 2007 and July 2011, when the mission in Kandahar came to an end.

But Canadian troops began their work in Kandahar in 2006, as did the hundreds of interpreters who would go on to work for the Canadian government ....
The Canadian Press, 11 Sept 11
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #61 on: September 11, 2011, 20:35:56 »
I am still in contact with my head terp.  He said he has been approved to come to Canada with his wife in about 3-4 months time.  One other chap was also approved, but the others are not successful at this point.  I'm pleased to think that at least my friend and his wife will be safe.

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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #62 on: September 16, 2011, 09:44:52 »
Why stop with the LA's? The ANA and AUP also faced those dangers on patrols with us.. Bring them over.. Heck, when a normal civilian would point out where an IED was or a cache was hidden, find all of them and bring them over too.

Every LA we had (we kept having to fire them for different reasons, so we had I'd say over a dozen) told us the only reason they were LA is cause they wanted to come to Canada. I can't provide proof of this or anything, but really is that the type of mentality we want in our immigrants? How can we expect Afghanistan to flourish at all when we take their most educated away?
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #63 on: September 16, 2011, 10:08:42 »
Every LA we had (we kept having to fire them for different reasons, so we had I'd say over a dozen) told us the only reason they were LA is cause they wanted to come to Canada. I can't provide proof of this or anything, but really is that the type of mentality we want in our immigrants? How can we expect Afghanistan to flourish at all when we take their most educated away?
If you look over the debate running up & down this thread, two philosophies debated are "we have to take them to protect them because they helped us when it was dangerous to do so" versus "if we take away (at least some of) the smartest and brightest, how will Afghan society evolve?"   

Given how unsafe I'm guessing Afghanistan is still going to be once NATO leaves, I'm OK with the former, given how few the numbers involved are.
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #64 on: September 16, 2011, 10:19:37 »
If you look over the debate running up & down this thread, two philosophies debated are "we have to take them to protect them because they helped us when it was dangerous to do so" versus "if we take away (at least some of) the smartest and brightest, how will Afghan society evolve?"   

Given how unsafe I'm guessing Afghanistan is still going to be once NATO leaves, I'm OK with the former, given how few the numbers involved are.

Yes, I did skim over the previous posts and decided to add my :2c: And I will say again, why stop with the LA's? Do the ANA or AUP face any less danger?
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #65 on: September 30, 2011, 11:50:59 »
Canada tries to do right thing, fails miserably
Joe O'Connor  Sep 29, 2011 Sep
Article Link
 
Sometimes, say, every once in a Fall Harvest Moon, our government steps up and does something that has nothing to do with partisanship or the economy and everything to do with what is morally right and just.

That is what Jason Kenney, the Immigration and Citizenship minister, was doing in September, 2009 when he announced that Afghans who worked and risked their lives alongside Canadian soldiers in Kandahar could apply to be fast tracked for permanent residency status in Canada.

Kenney aptly cast the shiny new initiative as the “right thing to do.” And it was. And it still is. And the only problem is we didn’t do it particularly well and we are not doing it at all anymore.

The program wound down earlier this month. Two-thirds of the Afghans who applied under it were rejected. Asad (no relation to Hamid) Karzai was one of them. (You can read my article about him here).

Immigration officials expect 550 Afghan nationals to arrive beneath the initiative’s banner. My math might not be great, but if two-thirds of the applicants were rejected that means about a thousand would-be immigrants are still marooned in Afghanistan, and itching to get out.

It is a home that is not always particularly sweet for former employees of the Canadian Forces who, by nature of their employment, become marked men in the eyes of the Taliban.

They picked us, the good guys, to work for. The bad guys noticed, and they don’t forget about those who “collaborate” with the “foreigners.” They also don’t forget that the “collaborators” have families: wives, children and parents, all of whom are potential targets for intimidation and retribution and worse at the hands of insurgents.

So, what the heck happened? How could something so high-minded and nice-sounding and generously Canadian be such a sham in the end?

Simple answer: bureaucratic inflexibility. The program, sigh, was terminally flawed from its outset — no matter how good its intentions were.
More on link
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #66 on: September 30, 2011, 12:08:44 »
Makes me sick at heart to think of the Terps that worked for me not getting a safe passage here.  Shamefull.   >:(

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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #67 on: November 25, 2011, 07:46:04 »
On the one hand, good on the Toronto Star for advocating for this one 'terp (whose case is being brought to Federal Court):
Quote
Blocked by Canada’s immigration minister and abandoned by the Canadian military he bravely served, a former battlefield interpreter now hopes our courts will rescue him from a Taliban vendetta. Lorne Waldman, a Toronto immigration and refugee lawyer who has successfully argued cases all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, is one of three lawyers who offered to take on Afghan Sayed Shah Sharifi’s case free of charge. Reluctantly, Sharifi is taking Waldman up on his offer. “If it can be solved without the court, it’s better, sir,” Sharifi told me Thursday from Kandahar city. “But if it isn’t, we can go to court.” Waldman plans to ask the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of the government’s decision to reject Sharifi’s visa application. “I think it’s outrageous that the Canadian government is — having employed someone as in interpreter in a situation that any objective observer would know would put him at risk — is now denying him the protection that he deserves,” Waldman said ....
On the other hand, we know the Taliban read the papers, so is tooooo much coverage (as they've been pressing for the last several weeks) a good thing?  I know I'm one of the first to complain about media holding back information (especially when not covering one of their own), but maybe less is more sometimes?
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Re: Afghan Interpreters, Others Fast-tracking to Canada
« Reply #68 on: November 28, 2011, 06:54:06 »
Toronto Star continues full-court press to get 'terp into Canada:
Quote
From Africa, through Europe to Mexico, the U.S. and across Canada, thousands of people are joining the outcry against the Canadian government’s refusal to give an Afghan war hero safe refuge. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says former Afghan interpreter Sayed Shah Sharifi, who was praised for his bravery on the battlefield by Canadian troops he worked alongside, doesn’t deserve a visa to escape Taliban revenge. If Prime Minister Stephen Harper needed any proof that his immigration minister’s harsh stand is embarrassing Canada in front of the world, here it is. By Sunday evening, more than 2,141 people had signed at least two online petitions, building on growing pressure from Toronto Star readers writing letters demanding Harper and Kenney help Sharifi. Lynn Hamilton, who describes herself as an activist blogger, started a campaign demanding protection for Sharifi on Care2 take action, which bills itself as the world’s number one petition site ....
Two petitions out there, actually - one here, the other here.

- edited to add story link -
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 11:16:10 by milnews.ca »
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Re: Afghan Interpreters, Others Fast-tracking to Canada
« Reply #69 on: November 29, 2011, 11:03:18 »
Ministerial direction means squat to the bureaucrats.  We've seen this before - Minister Y says something publicly, but bureaucrat X pays lip service to it.

Another example of the bureaucracy over riding the will of a Cabinet Minister.
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Re: Afghan Interpreters, Others Fast-tracking to Canada
« Reply #70 on: November 29, 2011, 11:18:35 »
Ministerial direction means squat to the bureaucrats.  We've seen this before - Minister Y says something publicly, but bureaucrat X pays lip service to it.

Another example of the bureaucracy over riding the will of a Cabinet Minister.
If the TorStar is to be believed, though, the (Immigration) bureaucrats are doing what the (Immigration) Minister wants.  It's just that they're not doing with the (Defence) Minister may want.

If I were a reporter, I'd ask the Defence Minister the question, "What can you do to ensure interpreter Sayed Shah Sharifi can come to Canada?" to see what he has to say.  Hell, ask the boss of both Ministers, the PM, the question and see what's said.
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Re: Afghan Interpreters, Others Fast-tracking to Canada
« Reply #71 on: February 06, 2012, 21:31:34 »
If I were a reporter, I'd ask the Defence Minister the question, "What can you do to ensure interpreter Sayed Shah Sharifi can come to Canada?" to see what he has to say.  Hell, ask the boss of both Ministers, the PM, the question and see what's said.
According to TorStar, we may have an answer of sorts.....
Quote
More than 100 Afghan citizens who put their lives on the line to help Canada’s Afghanistan mission are getting a second chance to resettle here.

The Prime Minister’s Office has quietly ordered the federal immigration department to review the cases of Afghan citizens who helped Canadian diplomats and soldiers in Kandahar and Kabul — often at great personal risk — but were snubbed in their bids to come to Canada, the Star has learned.

The news could mean that Sayed Shah Sharifi, an interpreter whose story has been featured in the Star, could get another shot at coming to Canada. His initial application had been rejected, even though his service to the Canadian military won him accolades.

The surprise review comes amidst criticism that the Conservative government had betrayed a promise of Canadian citizenship to Afghans who had worked alongside Canadians on the battlefield.

As well, Harper’s office has removed one contentious criterion that had been seen as a roadblock to many Afghans seeking to make a new life in Canada, according to a source familiar with the file.

No longer will applicants have to demonstrate they face “extraordinary and individualized risk and serious injury” because of their service to Canadian troops, a subjective evaluation that prevented two-thirds of the candidates from qualifying ....
Toronto Star, 6 Feb 12
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Re: Afghan Interpreters, Others Fast-tracking to Canada
« Reply #72 on: February 06, 2012, 22:29:49 »
I do find it interesting that one of the main arguments for not bringing these people over is that "we" are taking people away from Afghanistan thatwould be capable of building up their country. I know of, and have heard many stories of, many Afghan citizens that have immigrated to the country, and have then turned around and gone back to the country as an interpreter, still working for their country. Who is to say that some of the men and women coming into Canada won't then have the access to greater education, or education for their children, then take what they have learned and go back to help their countrymen, armed with new knowledge and skills? Call me the wide-eyed idealist. Some will jump at the chance of a life in Canada, some will stay to ensure that their country is going in a positive direction. One can only hope that the "good intentions" of the Canadian federal government will lead to bringing come courageous and brave people to safety, and giving others the option to work on making their country a better place.

There's my bubbly optimism for the day!

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Another editorial call for a fair shake for the 'terps
« Reply #73 on: February 13, 2012, 07:48:59 »
Quote
….Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and diplomatic missions routinely rely on local interpreters and cultural guides when deployed in foreign lands, often in environments no more welcoming to Westerners than Afghanistan. If Canada wishes to continue to find willing locals when it sends troops or diplomats abroad, it must ensure that its reputation as a reliable partner remains intact. To do otherwise could endanger the lives of personnel on future missions, not to mention the successful outcomes of the missions themselves. That means a fair deal for Afghans, free of arbitrary cutoffs and needless red tape.
National Post, 13 Feb 12
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Re: Afghan Interpreters, Others Fast-tracking to Canada
« Reply #74 on: February 13, 2012, 17:25:44 »
I do find it interesting that one of the main arguments for not bringing these people over is that "we" are taking people away from Afghanistan thatwould be capable of building up their country. I know of, and have heard many stories of, many Afghan citizens that have immigrated to the country, and have then turned around and gone back to the country as an interpreter, still working for their country. Who is to say that some of the men and women coming into Canada won't then have the access to greater education, or education for their children, then take what they have learned and go back to help their countrymen, armed with new knowledge and skills? Call me the wide-eyed idealist. Some will jump at the chance of a life in Canada, some will stay to ensure that their country is going in a positive direction. One can only hope that the "good intentions" of the Canadian federal government will lead to bringing come courageous and brave people to safety, and giving others the option to work on making their country a better place.

There's my bubbly optimism for the day!

I had, in my day job as a financial planner, a few clients who were Afghans, who had come to Canada at various points in history, some in the 1980s, some in the 1990s, and a few even more recently than that. They had worked hard in Canada to build a life for their families, but there was something interesting about a lot of them. They were all looking for ways to contribute to the rebuilding and redevelopment of their homeland. One family even returned. They had an immense sense of gratitude for what Canada had given them, and took their knowledge and skills back to their homeland when they saw an opportunity. Taking a relatively small number of people out of the country where there is a reasonable risk to them doesn't really mean they'll never go back to make a difference, it may actually set them up to make more of one.
Palma Non Sine Pulvere - Nothing Worth Having Comes Easily!