WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Kansas veteran who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan is lobbying to bring Afghan translators to the U.S. with special immigrant visas.
Rick Burns is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and served in the Army National Guard. He says many U.S. soldiers heavily relied on the translator’s abilities during their times in those countries. He says many of them even helped saved their lives.
“They are our friends, they are comrades in arms, they are the people that we trusted with our lives,” said Burns.
He advocates for these translators to get special immigrant visas that he believes can potentially save their lives. He says the visas are given to people who worked closely with the U.S military forces and will face life-threatening consequences if they stay.
“We feel an obligation to leave no one behind,” said Burns. “We have a crisis in the moment where we’re probably not going to get all of them out of Afghanistan, and so their lives will certainly be threatened.”
Burn says nearly 17,000 translators are in the system waiting to get their visas.
“The process has just been way too arduous and too long, too just, too flawed,” said Burns. “We’re advocating that we take care of these folks and we get them out of Afghanistan as best as we can.”
He’s been advocating for these special category visas since 2008 and has helped a handful of Afghans come to the U.S.