A Message From SPSN’S Steve Miska
I continue to be humbled as people join the effort to stand for our values as Americans by protecting our Iraqi, Afghan, and other colleagues around the world who have supported our efforts. For example, Jure Erlic continues to volunteer for the SPSN project while studying and teaching as a grad student at Carnegie Mellon University. The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) just had a big win in a case that is at the center of a lawsuit. Read more about the case below. Pete Farley, a veteran trying to bring his interpreter’s family to the U.S. has over 136K signatures on a Change.org petition, and there are many other instances of people standing up. Most recently, I continue to get asked to help with vulnerable asylum cases where sending individuals who supported our national security back to their country of origin would mean almost certain death. People reach out in need more and more. I don’t see this trend abating in the near term or even over the long run. We need to do better to protect our soft networks as a country. The research and policy development options that SPSN has created offer a path forward. If you haven’t read the white paper we produced this year, click on the link here.
I hope to see some of you in Washington, D.C. at the end of October for the ISOA Summit. If you’re in California, feel free to connect. I would be happy to provide more information on soft networks or trends in the first amendment space when wearing my other hat as Executive Director of First Amendment Voice.
Dear Soft Network Advocates,
As Steve’s message notes major developments in the protection of Soft Networks have occurred.
- IRAP’s aid was crucial in securing a significant legal victory in a lawsuit against the US government over egregious delays in the VISA processing of SIV applicants. The court ordered the US government to expeditiously adjudicate the applications that have been pending for over nine months, an issue that would not have been addressed if not for advocates like IRAP and yourselves who continue to bring attention and support to the issue. To read the full press release of the case click here.
- Soft network advocate, Ambassador Ryan Crocker, has recently published an opinion piece in the Washington Post calling for the support of our Afghan allies. Ambassador Crocker notes that as the US attempts to devise a withdrawal strategy from Afghanistan, the US is failing to address the crucial question of “What will happen to our Afghan partners who served the U.S. mission after we leave?” In failing to plan for how to protect our local partners, whose lives and families lives are at constant risk, the US is repeating the same mistakes that endangered our local South Vietnamese partners in the aftermath of the Paris Peace Accords. To read the full opinion click here or on the link below.
- SPSN is proud to announce that it will also be participating in this year’s International Stability Operations Association’s (ISOA) summit hosted from October 28-30 in Arlington, Virginia. SPSN’s Steve Miska will be featured as a panelist on the Indigenous Networks panel, moderated by Ioannis Koskinas of the Hoplite Group, at 1:15 P.M on October 30th. For further information on the summit or to register click here.
- Additionally on July 22nd, Steve was featured as a guest speaker on the Truth About War podcast hosted by the Pittsburgh Veterans Breakfast Club Director Nicholas Grimes. SPSN is grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this podcast and hopes that its participation will lead to greater education and attention on this overlooked issue. Keep a look out for updates as we will look forward to notifying you when the podcast is up on their website.
Thank you for your continued support of our work in strategically protecting soft networks. We look forward to providing further updates on research and policy development efforts to protect our closest partners in conflict zones during these trying times.
The SPSN Team
- ‘Court finds VISA delays faced by thousands of Afghans and Iraqis who assisted the United States are unlawful’, IRAP, Henrike Dessaules, 09/23/19
- ‘Crocker on Afghanistan’, National Review, Jay Nordlinger, 09/18/19
- ‘We can’t leave Afghanistan without protecting our closest allies first’, Washington Post, Ambassador Ryan Crocker, 08/29/19
- ‘Our shared humanity’, Northwest Democrat Gazette, Mathew Tully, 08/11/19
- ‘Refugee resettlement represents the best of American values’, Citizen Times, Ted W. Goins Jr., 07/30/19
- ‘After 16 Years of War and Red Tape, an Iraqi Interpreter Becomes an US Citizen’, The Virginian-Pilot, Courtney Mabeus, 07/06/19