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Soldiers and an Iraqi translator speak with a local Iraqi while on a patrol on July 13, 2011, in Iskandariya, Iraq. As the deadline for the departure of the remaining American forces in Iraq approaches, many translators are being left behind.
Thousands of Iraqis helped American forces during the war, working as interpreters and subcontractors. In 2008, Congress established a special visa program that was supposed to fast-track their passage to the U.S., but the program has stalled.
Out of the 25,000 special immigrant visas available, only 3,600 have been issued. As the deadline for pulling troops out of Iraq approaches, fears that these Iraqi interpreters will be punished for their involvement with the United States has intensified.
Tariq, Baghdad resident that has worked for the U.S. military as a translator. He recently lost his job, and now lives in fear for his life. He asked us not to use his last name due to security concerns.