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Lawmakers propose special visas for Syrian Kurds

Tennessee residents who follow international news will likely be aware that President Trump recently announced that he planned to recall U.S. troops from Syria. A fierce reaction from both sides of the political aisle has prompted the White House to revise its position, but questions still linger about American intentions in the region and what will be done to protect Syrian Kurds who have put themselves in harm's way by working with U.S. troops.

American forces rely on help from local populations to overcome language barriers and navigate over hostile terrain. During recent military operations in the Middle East, thousands of Syrian Kurds worked with U.S. soldiers as guides and translators. On Oct. 30, a bill was submitted to the House of Representatives that would provide up to 4,000 special immigration visas each year for Kurds and other foreign nationals who assisted the U.S. military in the fight against the Islamic State.

The Syrian Partner Protection Act is being sponsored by a Democrat and a Republican who both served in the armed forces. Similar legislation was passed during the George W. Bush administration to protect Iraqis and Afghans who risked death on the battlefield with American troops. The number of visas issued under these laws has fallen sharply under Trump. The bill's sponsors expect widespread bipartisan support from military veterans in Congress.

There are numerous special visas available for specific groups of individuals who wish to live and work legally in the United States. Attorneys with experience in this area could explain the requirements for family and work-based visas and special visa programs, and they could help applicants to complete their immigration paperwork and gather supporting documents. Attorneys could also assist immigrants during the appeals process if their applications are denied or during removal proceedings if they face deportation.

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